At a time when the garden is looking rubbish, ‘cos its November and however much we bang on about grasses and seedheads, the garden always does look rubbish now except for when the sun shines, which it has done a little bit lately. Good time to think about garden stuff that doesn’t involve green things.
Which we are not very good at using in gardens.
Unlike the Chinese, who would not consider a garden complete without text. Even the ‘keep off the grass’ signs are poetic.
Little Sparta in Scotland is the most famous text garden. In theory very inspiring.
In practice, I rapidly tire of the fact that (a) I do not have a degree in Classics and so cannot understand all the Latin, (b) Hamilton Finlay’s puns are terrible (c) he has a rather fascistic side (see above – Louis Antoine de Saint-Just was a French revolutionary of the “a la guillotine” variety). Actually Little Sparta in engrossing, in a wonderful setting and actually quite fun. It is a good place to start exploring the idea of the text-based garden.
We’d like to do a lot more texting our garden, but it is a trifle expensive. We have a very good local letter carver, but at £7.50 a letter have only been able to afford one so far. It was Jo’s project – a great addition to our meadow.
Actually what started off this musing about texting the garden was a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Lots of wonderful Henry Moores, Isamu Noguchi etc, Andy Goldsworthy (our most inspiring environmental artist, whose work has a lot to teach gardeners, just Google Image him and be blown away. And some of this sort of thing. Which quite frankly I could live without.
What I really loved though, and what got me going on this blog was a special exhibition in a greenhouse by the poet and artist Alec Finlay. I think they speak for themselves. If I think I get snowed in this winter, I might have a go at doing some myself.