As a child escaping into the fields nearby was probably life’s main purpose. Gravitating towards the outdoors, to appreciate the different experiential opportunities offered by the natural environment has continued to be a recurrent theme throughout the decades. Botany became an interest during the teenage years, but later there was a greater attraction to the aesthetic and nurturing qualities of the outdoors and an appeal to gain skills in cultivating plants for food, rather than as a pure quest to understand botanical structure related to function.
Gardens have continued to appeal whether at home or away. Alongside being attracted by the beauty and curiosities of colours and forms, changes and developments in the garden, the attraction has now become more evidently related to aspects of wellbeing.
It is intriguing that there is little interest in other people’s ‘domestic’ gardens, whilst seeking out the experience of visiting reclaimed Victorian walled gardens would always be cardinal in a list of desirable activities. Their sense of seclusion, attention to detail and the evidence of the passing of time offers endless opportunities for curiosity, fascination and story-making.
Practice triggers and attractions include:
• Plants, their forms, strengths, varieties, purposes and their growth.
• How senses are affected by colour, fragrance, shape, silhouette, textures, tastes and sounds.
• The effects of the natural environment and time on a cultivated landscape and its flora.
• Natural and contrived structures and their purposes (and or effects), within a ‘garden’.
• The different types of garden and their purposes; functional for food production, for aesthetic or spiritual experiences, leisure or play.
The garden is the place where Practice is initiated and practised. This however, is a family garden where small areas have to be squirreled away to be dedicated to practice related investigations, as always, always, practice is constrained by physical capacity and family needs.