Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Gardens with a statement

It's our Science Festival once again, and I attended the opening event at lunchtime: two academics from UCL discussed whether it's the sun that causes climate change. It was all rather above my head, but I think the long and the short of it was that the cause is not so much the sun itself as our use of fossilised sunlight - coal, gas, oil.

This evening, we were off again - this time out of Cheltenham to see round what the programme described, with its customary self-effacedness, as "a spectacular garden" inspired by scientific facts and theories. My photograph shows the sort of thing we found, its meaning needing to be unpacked for us by our generous hostess. It's set in... Elysium and indeed a garden to make the eyes pop, but overall I can't help preferring mine somewhat more natural. Flowers, shrubs and trees come anyway in so many varieties and with such a riot of structure, what need is there really and truly for all these interpretative extras? In other words, I can do without the thick white line down the side of the winding path, the red stair carpet up the stone steps and the metal gate incorporating barbed wire to indicate the risk of a stock market crash: they get in the way of (in this instance) a stunning display of aliums, poppies - oh, and those vegetables! But so far advanced for 800 feet above sea level! Surely not all organically grown?

To sum up: chacun à son gout.

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