Whenever the January rain looks set on spoiling our weekend fun, we head off to the Tate Modern to while away a few hours checking out the art and letting the kids race up and down the Turbine Hall. This time we stumbled across 'Empty Lot', a fascinating installation by Abraham Cruzvillagas. The two large triangular platforms which hold a grid work of triangular wooden planters has the feel of a surreal, floating allotment. Each planter is filled with a mixture of compost and soil collected from parks, heaths, green spaces and commons from across London. Under heavy floodlights and ad-hoc lighting they have the feel of plants growing in a not to distant sic-fi film. Nothing has been planted in the soil, flowers and weeds may or may not grow, this is totally dependent on what is already in the soil. The artist is hoping to evoke a sense of hope and expectation, and over the next 6 months nature is completely free to takes its course. This installation will resonate heavily with all gardeners who naturally feel a sense of 'hope and expectation' for the garden with each new year. I'm looking forward to checking back in to see how far it progresses before the installation ends on the 3rd of April.
There is never a bad time to visit Petersham Nurseries, but a cold December evening is pretty perfect. The whole place is transformed into a wonderful Christmas spectacular, with fires, christmas trees, sparkly lights, baubles, choirs, mulled wine and mince pies. For the garden designer, Petersham Nurseries is a gift, a place to sit, a place to be inspired and also a place to explore the possibilities of the winter garden.
Having spent a wonderful week in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, I have returned with two new passions - sherry and bougainvillea. They both run freely in all quarters of this beautiful old town and are at their best when enjoyed together. The intense colours of the petals against the whitewashed walls of this Pueblo Blanco are breathtaking, while seeing it grow wild and free without the restraints of the british climate are a joy for the plantsman to behold. I'll set the scene, its late afternoon and most of the locals are asleep, whilst I am am tucked away in the cool corner of a courtyard under a canopy of shocking pink with an ice cold sherry in hand, heaven. This feels like the perfect mid-summer day, but its hard to believe this is autumn in southern Spain.