Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dahlia envy

Mid September, and once again I’m struck by the knowledge that I’ve failed to plant enough dahlias this year.

There’s nothing subtle about a dahlia. Subtlety, after all, is not what you really want in the garden towards the end of summer, when everything’s been madly growing all year, when the beds and borders are jam-packed with plants that are either just reaching their best, or just gone over, or long past their best and sprouting crazily from every bud because it’s what they do and they can feel the days are getting shorter and want to make the most of every sun-kissed photon before winter robs them of the warmth and the light they need to grow. Against this crazed backdrop you need something that will stand out.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Genius loci

Every once in a while – if you’re a person who values the process of thinking – it’s no bad thing to be exposed to that which has the power to stop you in your tracks. A positive encounter which threatens to reeducate you, tweaking your view of the world in some way to make an allowance for something significant which until now you hadn’t so much as imagined. Last week’s visit to the gardens of Rousham House in Oxfordshire was for me an experience of that order, to the extent that it’s taken me a few days to be in the position to be able to write about it. And even now I’m not convinced I have the words to convey the wonderment of this garden and this place. But I’ll give it a go, and when words won’t do the job, pictures will have to.