An oasis of calm in the springtime madness

We decided to take a break from out slightly frantic spring rush this evening to see Dan Pearson as part of the Charleston Festival.  If I am completely honest Dan is a gardener that I didn’t fully engage with up until recently.  I think Dan has a very special, mature and modest approach to gardening and design. 

Dan’s ethos is that a garden is an oasis and sanctuary.  It gives one a space to think in a very over-stimulated world.  A garden holds it’s own time, space and reference.  Dan is fascinated by guerrilla gardened spaces and how an area of planting can bring the seasons to you, especially in a built up city.  It brings you back into the present and reaffirms the impermanence of life. 

He talked about public projects he had done such as Maggie’s Center in Charing Cross and private gardens he had created including his own.  His focus for his new book “Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City”.  In this garden he has such enchanting spectacles as Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’ climbing up the back of the house and a hedge made from Phyllostachys nigra which he has pruned to just leave these fabulous black stems moving with life.  His garden was a completely encapsulating space where you could forget about the city and exhale for a while.

I think it’s quite unusual for Dan Pearson to give talks but for me it was really really inspiring.  As a gardener and designer it’s all too easy to create your gardens with a view to pleasing your client.  It’s all too easy to use generic, cultivar, low maintenance, long flowering, high performing planting  forgetting about the anticipation and excitement of planting something really special that will only flower once but my goodness it will flower spectacularly. 

Dan is headlining a day seminar in London this week so I shall report back soon with more pearls of wisdom.


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