Saturday, 30 July 2016

got to catch them all

I'm particularly pleased I managed to get the Poliwag and the habituated crows in the same shot. I'm seeing quite a lot of wildlife out pokewalking!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Blue Dot - the garden shed and the galaxy garden

At Blue Dot we picked a camping option called a space pod. We turned up and they were "solar powered" garden sheds (supplemented by one car battery per row of pods) with sleeping shelves. More gnome house than glamping, but an amazing view!

One of the things I was very excited to see was Chris Beardshaw's Galaxy Garden. This is a permanent version of the conceptual show gardens you see at events like Hampton Court, and this one is a science garden based on how the universe got from the Big Bang to our present day, using a pattern of circular gardens. We went there after dark first, and then on Sunday morning, when my devices had all run out of battery, and Chris Beardshaw has sadly retired it from his website, so its presence online is confined to a lovely blog post here and there. It's huge - spirals of willow, grass, stones, firecracker planting in colours hot or cool depending on where we are in the development of the universe. There are mazy twisty bits to lose children in and a huge scooped slope to relax on, tactile grasses and poetic notices explaining what each garden represents, and all around an enclosing hedge that keeps everything sheltered and warm.

The gardens were lumiered and full of performances by night, and by day full of talks, random yoga classes and science demonstrations. The arboretum there holds two national collections, so the trees themselves were amazing even before they lit up in rainbow colours after dark. And over everything, the telescope, white by day and multicoloured by night.

We're back from Blue Dot now, and we have a kitten. The two are not related, except for sequentially.

chin tickles confuse

Friday, 22 July 2016

MKIF - Tweed Pigeons, Green Roofs and Lego

We'd already been to MKIF for Voalá: Station the previous week, but this time we were just there to mosey and soak up the sights. Most of the action we were interested in was inside centre: mk so we spent most of the day under sunny glass, dipping in and out of the gardens. The main space was taken up by a huge light/projection installation, the green-roofed chapel was showing a hypnotic film of community-inclusive dance in one of MK's woodlands, the crowd of tweed pigeons in some of the centre's trees turned out to be a "fringe" installation (we never did work out how official these were) and the data visualisations of the city were live. Just time to visit the lego shop on the way home.

Monday, 11 July 2016

big grounds, little gardens

One of the oddities (or perhaps inevitabilities) of my domestic life is that both myself and my partner went to boarding school. Mine was a Harry Potterish affair on a windswept cliff with secret staircases and the largest privately owned stuffed bird collection in the county; theirs was a smart town school with a good social life and high academic standards. My memories are largely bleak, although I remember the gardens well; it had been a proper Victorian nouveau-gothic mansion, with all the mod cons (terrace, kitchen garden, follies, beech walks, quads, stables) and although there had been some changes (the bowling alley was now a chapel, and the walled garden was now an all-weather playing area) the original landscaping and planting still dominated, with handsome trees and rhododendrons everywhere.

My old school is long gone, but my partner's school continues, and we visited yesterday. It still has lovely gardens, with shrubberies, lawns, neatly clipped bushes, a terrace with roses and well-planted beds. Virginia creeper scrambles up the wall of the old house, photinia screens the windows of the rec room and the study area, and lavender trims the edge of the main quad. Flowers grow in the old walls, and along the beds on either side of the gravel drive. A gardener tends the grounds, and the care shines through.

Today I was back in my own garden, hacking cutting trimming watering. Not enough.

Friday, 1 July 2016

there's a secret roofgarden outside my office

roof garden roof garden
roof garden roof garden
I can see Sow Thistle, with its usefully shallow roots; Willowherb, which will of course grow anywhere; Jack-in-the-hedge, one of nature's great spreaders, and other wayfaring weeds. Pigeons are sometimes up here, and dust blows in; that's enough to make soil.

I'm only here for a week or so.