On most occasions (such as committee meetings, even those with biscuits), there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than in my garden. In spite of that, I do have a problem with the consumerist “garden industry”. And in particular, I reserve a special Circle of Hell for “garden designers”. I’m only prepared to make one or two exceptions to that, notably Piet Oudolf for his thoughful and inspiring prairie planting style of the 1990’s. In the purgatory of the gardening calendar, the lowest point of the year is the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – the sharp-elbowed middle class Chelsea-on-sea which is desperate to lever itself onto the London social calendar alongside Wimbledon and the Henley Royal Regatta. For those reason, I nearly fell off my chair yesterday when I saw this.
British limestone pavements were nearly all destroyed in the last century under pressure from the garden industry which extracted the stone for suburban gardens (with a little bit of “agricultural improvement” thrown in). Limestone pavements are a mosaic of extreme microenvironments – hot, dry linestone ridges (clints) dividing up cooler, damper fissures (grykes). The Benedict Green “conceptual” clints and grykes garden at Hampton Court is modernist version of a natural landscape which does not look out of place in an urban setting. This is something I’m going to be thinking about when I’m striding across the Burren in a couple of weeks time.
OK, that’s two garden designers who have a “Get of of Hell free” card then.