Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Norganic neither

The charismatic Chris Beardshaw came to the Cotswold Playhouse Theatre in Stroud last evening, at the invitation of the Gloucestershire Organic Gardening Group: well though he talked about his career and background, the "O" word was notably absent during the enjoyable two hours (nearly) for which he spoke!

Both a plantsman and a garden architect, Chris clearly wanted us to know more about the architecture than the planting. Or rather the "choreography". How are we going to arrange our plants? He agreed with Gertrude Jekyll, they should be "like the thread in a tapestry." And he went on to talk of the gardener as the conductor of a great orchestra, controlling both the assemblage of blooms and their timing.

To walk down a well-planned herbaceous border was like exploring the nave of a cathedral, its columns (trees) supporting the roof and giving rhythm as you proceed towards the altar (gazebo?). Changing the metaphor yet again (this happened a lot), he spoke of the garden as a four-dimensional photograph album, as a strange stew, even as a pair of old slippers...

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