sauvage 3

Prevarication – that’s the problem or is it an excuse? Or plain laziness? Anyway time to acknowledge a garden that was, but is now gone. A little explanation:  ‘The Savage Garden’ designed by 4 students from University of Greenwich landscape architecture/garden design course was selected to form part of the 2015 International Festival of Gardens at Chaumont on the Loire. The design was edited by Jamie Liversedge – senior tutor – with just a little help from me and built by students and Jamie + myself. Here he is talking about the garden . . .

chaumont opening-pana2 copy

. . . and the image above shows the site last April just before the opening of the festival – all other images show the garden in September just before the closure. The theme was ‘collections’ and the selection jury including Maestro Patrick Blanc defined the collection to be plant based. Le Jardin Sauvage  – tropical, a jungle, somewhere to get lost in, a refuge, where wildlife inhabit the overhead canopies, where Le Douanier Rousseau would have felt entirely at home – was a challenge not necessarily to build but to plant. The plants required time to envelop the site even though we selected some large specimens but over the time span of the festival, the growth of the planting was successful. The expectation was achieved. An angled route over crushed broken tile lead through lush foliage highlighted with brilliant flower colour across a bridge and under rusty steel arches – red was important in the colour palette from early on in the design stage. A few images . . .

sauvage 2

detail planting

detail mina lobata

. . . Mina lobata clambers over the steel reinforcing bar arch structure with a dark tender pennisetum covering the ground.

detail structure

detail canna

Cannas, hedychiums and begonias eventually came to the party. It looked good and the festival staff and visitors appreciated the concept and the finished result.

detail dicksonia

Another garden that caught my eye (really the best in the festival, for me) Le Jardin du Teinturier – a dyer’s esate probably in Marrakech – where the utilities of plants and the pigments extruded from berries, stems and roots were shown in a cinematically installation. It was perfection – well ordered, inspiring and beautifully designed . . .

le jardin du tein 1

le jardin du tein 2

le jardin du tein 3

. . . striking berries of Arbutus.

le jardin du tein arbutus

The gardens were eclectic in character under the umbrella of a given concept – always thought provoking and surprising.  ‘Réflexion d’un Collectionneur’ – a garden based on nature in a garden around a museum or gallery where the visitor views without knowing what lies beyond. Enticing – paintings or mirrored panels show the world behind the viewer. Is it a secret garden or a museum collection? Whatever, it was very clever.

reflexion 4

reflexion 3

reflexion 5

carnivore

Carnivorous plants were centre stage in a few gardens and this perforated screen shown below in Le Collectionneur de L’ombre was pleasing – a collection of ferns needed shade. The poem, well, a jungly romp with Spike Milligan that conveys the fun aspect of Le Jardin Sauvage. To follow a few more images and words on other parts of the festival.

collection de l'ombre 1

On the Ning Nang Nong

Where the Cows go Bong!

and the monkeys all say BOO!

There’s a Nong Nang Ning

Where the trees go Ping!

And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.

On the Nong Ning Nang

All the mice go Clang

And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!

So its Ning Nang Nong

Cows go Bong!

Nong Nang Ning

Trees go ping

Nong Ning Nang

The mice go Clang

What a noisy place to belong

is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!    Spike Milligan 

 

 

 

shard

Meet under the canopy of  the Shard – this was the instruction for the students studying garden design masterplan (BA Hons Garden Design) and place and culture and masterplanning (BA Hons Landscape Architecture). New start to the term and new project site: The Borough, Southwark. Cold, windy and hard environment here with major works happening to London Bridge station. The Wikipedia  reference: Southwark is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Sudweca. The name means “southern defensive work” and is formed from the Old English sūth and weorc. The southern location is in reference to the City of London to the north, seemed appropriate to machinery machinations . . .

l bridge

l bridge 2

shard opposite

. .  just a glimpse of a tree and a tempting offer on a station poster.

kent

more london 2

We intended to cover a semi circle – radius of 1000m centred on the station with first stop at more london  . . black Kilkenny limestone defining the strong desire line . . . a busy ‘chunnel’ at 1pm on a working day. We talked about how the space would feel on a Sunday. We hoped/suggested that the students might make a visit then to note changes. I would if this was my major design site  . . .

more london1

more london 3

more london 4

. . .  some tumbling and some sitting about and some standing around on scaffolding. Great Fraxinus – they work better here than the more decorative birch . . .

potters field

prunus sargentii

Through Potters Field and on by the London City Mission, we crossed under the tunnels arriving at St Mary Magdelen Churchyard and then into Tanner Street Park. A group of Prunus sargentii were starting the fireworks display  of autumn but, these poor trees showed the detrimental effect on plants trying to cope with badly laid paving + kerbs – terrifying hard landscaping. Through Leathermarket Gardens and Guy Street Park and on southwards to Tabard Gardens (lovely, potential here for detailed design – hint, hint) then east to Merrick Square and slowing down, a bit, to enjoy Trinity Church Square. .

trinity square 2

trinity square

mint street

. . . through Mint Street Park, we came across this community garden – green roof building and plenty of info for interested visitors. And yes, the baby came too.

mint street 2

On passed Cross Bones Cemetery and the ‘site with most potential’ that is currently a car park prior to development, we swung left down Southwark Street and into Neo Bankside. Many smiles spread across faces here. Maybe because the end was in sight but most likely as this landscape was deemed attractive by those studying – the staff more sceptical, which is their rightful position when analysing landscape projects, . . . . we’ll be doing it all again with the MA students – click here for this. We covered the semi circle ending at Tate Modern – another potential site – in just under 3 hours. So, looking forward to hearing and seeing the group survey presentation on this area, reading the A3 document and getting stuck into individual masterplanning at 1:500. All by the start of December – no pressure, of course.  Exciting site will produce imaginative designs. And the poem, well for me it’s about not being precious about the past, allowing some respect  but, mainly welcoming the future.

neo bankside

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.  E Bishop  One Art

fruit 1

We took the students to RHS Wisley to engage with, absorb and discuss end of summer planting as part of Advanced Planting Design module. From the fruit mound, we gazed across acres of orchard trees and marveled at the excellence of management and good house keeping that was on display. The dusters must be out at dawn to buff up the fruits on Malus ‘Bloody Ploughman’ . .

malus bloody ploughman

. .  scanning down the glasshouse borders, more commonly referred to as the Oudolf borders, the bleached heads of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’  make striking and graphic statements at this time of year.  And at close quarters, this upright grass looks glorious with Persicaria ‘Firedance’ . . .

oudolf borders 2

oudolf borders periscaria firedance 2

calamgrostis

. . . a sweeping brush stroke of Calamagrostis brachytricha – soft + tactile – forms yet another layer in a composition of  form, habit and texture. Mass planting of echinacea, upright dark cones standing proud now, flows like a stream back into the woodland.

oudoulf borders echinacea 1

oudolf borders perovskia close up

More C. brachytricha displaying its silky plumes that contrast well with the darker thistle heads of Eryngium giganteum.  There’s a great sense of power now in the character of shrubs like Cotinus – a dramatic last burst of visual ‘fortissimo’  – while the fingers of Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, also in their last flourish, demand attention in a more ladylike and willowy manner.

border 2

hitchmough planting 2

In the perennial meadow, where the planting mix has been defined by James Hitchmough, we recognised Silphium perfoliatum, daisy heads on tall stems ranging away over lower planting in this interesting gritty landscape. We were a tad stumped however, identifying the architectural seed heads in the image above. Neither members of staff had a clue!

hitchmough planting 1

On Battleston Hill, a forest of gums caused discussion  . . .

gums1

gums 4

. .  as did carpets of much smaller things. Even without the added bonus of flowers, cyclamen is a winner with foliage that is nigh perfection.

cyclamen

The following day, a trip to Great Dixter , without the students although encouraged to visit, to see Conifer (L) and Miscanthus (R) perform in the annual Dixter Dachshund Day. They did well. Thanks Perry? or is it Adele for the facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.563475030367660.1073741834.152726031442564&type=1

conifer   miscanthus

Signs of the changing season here too . . . .

dixter 1

dixter sun flowers

. .  but the dynamic structure of this garden is never masked by the seasonal planting . . .

dixter compost

dixter structure 6

. . .  the one compliments the other.

dixter structure 2

dixter heleniums chrysanthemums

Here the fruit is integrated with the decorative planting. Some of these pear trees are very old and make a charming knarled lattice frame through which to view other areas.  And, the cotinus in the Long Border, is behaving just like its relation at Wisley as one would expect.

dixter long border

dixter exotic 1

In the Exotic Garden, there is abundant growth this year. Carefully squeezing down the narrow paths is like a voyage of discovery . . .

dixter exotic 3

dixter exotic 4

. . .  so good to see Mrs Oakley Fisher, once more, and still in flower too. It’s all about the plants, of course.

dixter exotic 5

dixter exotic 6

Out in the late amber afternoon,
Confused among chrysanthemums,
Her parasol, a pale balloon,
Like a waiting moon, in shadow swims.

Her furtive lace and misty hair
Over the garden dial distill
The sunlight,–then withdrawing, wear
Again the shadows at her will.

Gently yet suddenly, the sheen
Of stars inwraps her parasol.
She hears my step behind the green
Twilight, stiller than shadows, fall.

“Come, it is too late,–too late
To risk alone the light’s decline:
Now has the evening long to wait,”–
But her own words are night’s and mine.   Hart Crane  In Shadow

malus 1

The nursery at Great Dixter opens well before the garden. This is a very good arrangement for us locals as we can shop and then start the journey around the garden (as a Friend, of course) before the world arrives.  There was a fresh energy in the air this morning.  Folks who know the set up will understand the chronology of the pics that follow. The group of malus by the lane  full of frothy white blossom partners the line of ash opposite looking OK??? fingers crossed . . .

fraxinus

4woven fence

. .  delicate touch on the woven fence – just enough for the country setting. Stacks/heaps/piles of hazel and… and … other timber.

6 wood heaps

7 walnut

Into the Front Meadow carpeted now with camassia.

8 camassias + yew hedge

And a couple of residents enjoying the sun at last by the front door. People who know me well also know that I am a little taken with these. They remind me of the 4 that I’ve had over many years. This is 2 year old Conifer in the foreground . . .

9 sweeties

. . . and Miscanthus who is about 6 months old. She’s very sweet.

10 new sweetie

11 birds

Strolling around to the Peacock Garden and the Carnival of Birds – my rename of Daisy Lloyd’s Parliament of Birds  . . .  I see the first of many Ferula with main stalk thrusting skywards.

12 ferula

A few views from the Cat Garden, High Garden and the Orchard Garden in no particular order.

13 view

14 view

15 view

By know I’ve decided that Fergus has become obsessed with ferulas – similar to his great liking of verbascums a couple of years ago. But then he’s master of the visual and the horticultural. Down to the Orchard where orchids are just flirting with the buttercups . . .

16 meadow

. . and on down the Long Border where a snapshot of the strong colour combinations  that Christo enjoyed was framed.

17 house

18 exotic

Muso basjoo, in the Exotic garden, still in their winter clothes but signs of delights flowering well on the walls around the Sunken Garden and a glimpse of a ghost.

19 climber

last

And for those students of Hadlow and University of Greenwich, I caught up with Kemal who was looking suitably nervous about his plant idents for the Great Dixter study days – some sympathy or a wry smile maybe, but fond memories.

Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Upon a single Wheel --
Whose spokes a dizzy Music make
As 'twere a travelling Mill --

He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose --
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,

Till every spice is tasted --
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres --
And I rejoin my Dog,

And He and I, perplex us
If positive, 'twere we --
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity --

But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye --
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An Exquisite Reply!  Emily Dickinson

Meeting up in the coldest place in the city, we shuffled about stamping feet, banging our arms across our bodies and trying to be brave. We’d forgotten how to deal with the cold and needed time to rehearse. Hay’s Galleria can be the most inhospitable meeting point, not only because it’s a wind tunnel but also because the clear circulation and desire lines are destroyed by the loathsome sculpture plonked in the main concourse – my opinion of course.

Across the river, the panorama of ‘new’ London at this point looks like a dog’s dinner – an architectural mess of geometric shapes, materials and lumpen forms. Sad and I’m still cold and grumpy! At More London, the intention is clear but the choice of the only living organism planted here within the urban mix is poor. Poor red oaks need taking off to a nursing home for recuperation or perhaps kinder to axe them now. The trees are slowly dying – planting is too close, little water can percolate to the rootball and underground services are seen to be more important than the trees but . . .

. . . beautiful colours today – bright sun, blue skies and the warmth of the autumn leaves helped mind over matter. Need to look at the positive issues. We have a beautiful city. Groups of tourists and visitors and inhabitants bustle around involved in their many languages . . . .

. . . fine details can be experienced as well as ‘in yer face’ items. We were here last year.

Plenty of delicate textures too, relieve the impact of the deadening effect of the corporate built environment . . .

. . . hurrah for the urban designers and plants people who make a difference and warm our souls and hope here for these red oaks in a better position by Potters Field.

Here I hang. I cut myself

apart for you with knowing

tenderness. Shoulders,

legs, spare ribs and spleen.

Liver gleaming in a dish,

Set out neatly for the crowd.

Look at my last gift to you.

Blood and sweetbread.

Nothing new. Pam Hughes  Ecce Home

talking urban landscapes

October 23, 2011

Following on from Talking Trees, we (staff and students studying Advanced Planting at MA + Diploma Level at University of Greenwich), wandered around 3 sites in the city to look at tree planting in the urban environment. At More London, the Quercus rubra appear to be suffering. Not surprising as the floor plane is packed with services, balancing chambers and large spreads of hard landscaping and all the hidden engineering materials and bases that are necessary for the support of tall buildings and general pedestrian movement. These Quercus should reach to 20m in an ideal environment and More London is hardly that. It is possibly the worst environment. The trees look stressed generally with one looking dire. There’s little space for the root zone and consequently nigh impossible for the trees to thrive. All the built items look good and well-managed – excellent use of water to bring a sense of movement and vitality in a somewhat dead environment. The Shard rises above – it’s all about architecture and that’s where the money goes.

A few paces on in Potters Field, a multi stem birch, one of a pair within the hard landscaping, showed the contrast with thin canopy and lack of moisture, to those positioned within the soft areas. Kids love these trees so they receive a fair bit of pulling and unwanted attention. Lower branches are often torn or damaged beyond repair.

This is what can happen:

In the Perennial Borders, seed heads and full autumn tones. Much discussion on whether this style of planting worked in this situation. At Mile End Park, a visitor, in the Arts area. That’s the first heron I’ve seen in the East End . .

This part of the park received favourable comments from our group as against the unkempt and distressed appearance of other areas – Green Bridge, water features and decorative terraces and the trees generally – all lacking in a reasonable level of maintenance and management.

At Jubilee Park, in Canary Wharf, in the heart of money land, we found a pretty good level of maintenance for this well built landscape. Considering this is in essence a roof garden, the trees (the deepest root zone) look to thrive  – Metasequoia glyptostroboides shown in these images and, also, multi stem prunus and evergreen Quercus x turneri – as do the twiggy plantings of Fagus hedging, Camellias and Osmanthus heterophyllus.

These grassy spreads of Pennisetum setaceum look quite stunning against the rather beautiful cut stone walls. I still love these walls 10 years on. An unfair contrast to Mile End but this park has a sense of magic and is functional to boot so the users flock here to relax, eat, chat, play and do much what they want.

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them
into paper, That we may record our emptiness. Kahlil Gibran   Sand and Foam

talking trees

October 17, 2011

Talking trees at The Hillier Wholesale Tree Nursery on maybe the last really sunny day of autumn. Lines of Quercus palustris waiting to go to a new home. Hossein Arshadi, director of the nursery, explains growth, management and all arboricultural issues to the students from the University of Greenwich. The nursery covers many acres and holds many species in many sizes from whips to super semi-mature trees over 7m in height.

Suddenly we came across these ‘celebrity’ items – reminded me of a chess board . . .

. . then lines of Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ – extremely elegant.

Then groves of betula. These are grafted multistems. They reminded me of photos of Fletcher Steele’s planting at Naumkaug in Massachusetts.

And lines of Acer griseum. Each tree branches out individually . . .

. . later we went on to view The Winter Garden at The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and saw the acers well positioned to receive as much back lighting as possible – excellent.

And taxodiums and metasequoias and cedar casting reflections on the water at the end of the day. Spectacular.

I Go Inside the Tree – written and read by Jo Shapcott:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQsAG6l2iw

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