Trilliums At Harlow Carr Garden (Mainly)

Large flowered trillium
Trillium chloropetalum var. giganteum with erythroniums and an emerging fern

These trilliums are from RHS Harlow Carr’s beautiful Spring woodland garden on the hillside behind the stone building used for exhibitions. It’s a little out of the way and I wonder how many visitors have discovered it – I only stumbled on it by mistake. It struck me as being fairly newly planted but if so, they’ve done a great job.

RHS gardens are rightly closed to help protect us, but of all the gardens that are out of reach, this is the one that calls me most plaintively.  Continue reading “Trilliums At Harlow Carr Garden (Mainly)”

Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree (2013)

Iron Tree (2013) by Ai Weiwei - a pieced together tree - beside a chapel

‘Iron Tree comprises 99 elements cast in iron… interlocked using a classic – and here exaggerated – Chinese method of joining, with prominent nuts and screws.’

From the Yorkshire Sculpture Park notes

Glimpsed from a distance, Ai Weiwei’s fake trees pass as real, but dead. As you draw closer, your mind engages with the forms and construction and questions arise. What is it? Why is it? Are the branches actually roots? Is it wood? Continue reading “Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree (2013)”

Calycanthus ‘Venus’ | Carolina Allspice Hybrid

Calycanthus 'Venus' - Carolina allspice

Q: When is a Magnolia not a Magnolia?
A: When it’s a Calycanthus.

Calycanthus is an ornamental, multi-stemmed shrub that caught my eye last year at one of the flower shows. Large, creamy flower buds open out to fragrant blooms held above the foliage. The fleshy flowers are often compared to a magnolia, although the petals are slim, curly and more plentiful. Continue reading “Calycanthus ‘Venus’ | Carolina Allspice Hybrid”

Life And Art: Astarte Syriaca With Onlooker

Onlooker with Astarte Syriaca by Rossetti
The onlooker seemed a modern version of Venus in the picture

Venus gazes out of the picture, wearing the draped fabric and heavy curls we associate with the Pre-Raphaelite style. Rossetti, her painter, has chosen a pose that reminds us of Botticelli’s famous image of Venus on the shell. The painting’s title associates the Roman goddess with the older Astarte.

In the background, winged spirits carry torches, and the evening star, Venus, is shown between the setting sun and rising moon.

Watching in turn, I was struck by the synergy between the figure in the painting and the onlooker who seemed to be communing with her. Continue reading “Life And Art: Astarte Syriaca With Onlooker”

In Praise of Punk

I don’t care how nice a person you are, I don’t mind betting you occasionally have a bad thought. What distinguishes us is how we deal with the feeling: how we expend it.

Back in the day, while working on a supermarket cash register during my school holidays, I noticed that the well-to-do lady I was serving was visibly sneering at a couple of punks who had joined the queue behind her. They were a boy and a girl obviously in love: classic, charismatic punks, with torn clothes and spiky hair.  Continue reading “In Praise of Punk”