Hepworth, Hokusai, Rothko, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Dali, and Monet
The Hepworth Garden is inspired byBarbara Hepworth's painting called Green Caves.Following the geometric patterns, I have planted groups of different grasses, sedums and echinaceas.
The outline was been turned to fit the space and every winter is cut back to the ground, so that the green slate mulch sings out. The summer garden teams with butterflies, while the autumn and winter garden whistles in the wind.
It is a garden of strong moods, alive with constant movement, yet, strange to tell, it is an oasis of calm.
The seasons bring immense change but its hard to say which I like the most. Truth be known these sort of naturalistic gardens, with their simple pallette and spacing between the plants mean that they look splendid in autumn and winter as well as in summer. Is East Anglia with its drier climate better suited to this style than elsewhere...I simply don't know but I am hooked!
The Hokusai Garden is a garden of cresting waves with billowing miscanthus and low stipa tenuissma lasting right through until March when they are cut down for their annual trim. Winter sunlight looks super as it lightly catches the seedheads; the soft colouring is perfect against the old stone walls of the house.
Echinacea Fatal Attraction makes a stunning contribution in July, August and September. At the same time, Verbena bonariensis adds colour above; both are loved by bees and butterflies. September and October is the time for the flowreing miscanthus, cresting like the claws of the wave in the woodcut.
The old fish pond had already become a colourful container garden display long before I saw Kandinsky's 'Improvisation Gorge'but as soon as I saw it I couldnot help thinking of the living picture back home. This year extra height and much more colour was added to the pit with four painted ladders and many more plants and pots.. It is kaleidiscope of colour during the summer months getting hotter and hotter as autumn approaches with orange and yellow begonias, red orange and yellow cannas, hot orange fushsias, bright blue lobelia and felicia; all vying for space amidst skiky agaves, fleshy echeverias and shiny black aeoniums. In October all the plants have been put back in the solardome for winter protection waiting for summer to arrive once more.
Mark Rothko's paintings in the Rothko Room at Tate Modern have inspired two garden rooms. Bronze leaved hedging plants are being clipped to form living pictures in front of walls of hornbeam. Prunus, berberis and beech all have slightly different depths of dark colours and textures while the beech has a wonderful shiny character bouncing off the light. Here there are subtle differences which weave together and create an intricate pattern, merging, overlapping sometimes to the fore, sometimes behind. The onlooker has to stop and stare and look....taking a moment to search and contemplate.
After five years the plan is beginning to take good shape, with the dark berberis, prunus and fagus adding huge depth and richness to the panels. It is a garden of emotion, contemplative and enclosing. We have recently added a brand new panel based on Green on Maroon 1961which we saw in February at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. This was the year in which an important exhibition was devoted to his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the first solo show which that museum had dedicated to an artist of the New York School.
In between the two rooms, a tall Irish yew has recently been planted in centre position surrounded by a base of clipped yew inspired by Barnet Newman's 'Broken Obelisk' outside the Houston Chapel. Last autumn we visited MOMA in New York and the Philips Gallery in Washington where we saw more of Rothko's work as well as a second copy of the Broken Obelisk. It was a memorable experience. This summer we visited the Rothko exhibition in Hamburg. It was truly remarkable and much the best way to enjoy his work, seeing it all together as a progression with no other artists for distraction. We grealty enjoyed the special Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern where a large number of late Rothko paintings and drawings were exhibited. .
Piet Mondrian inspired eighteen year old Jonathan Brown to paint this wall. Beautifully balanced and wonderfully colourful it lifts my spirit whenever I see it. Red and yellow crab apples were planted three years ago to create a living screen echoing the idea of Mondrain's Red Tree.
Then in spring 2008 we planted a garden of ornamental grasses in front of the wall with a seat between the two crab apple trees. In front of the seat there is now a 3m square paving pattern with LED lights insprired by his great Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-3 painting which he completed shortly after arriving in New York. He died in 1944. Moma describes the work as 'Bands of stuttering chromatic pulses, paths of red, yellow, and blue interrupted by light gray suggest the city's grid and the movement of traffic, while the staccato vibration of colors evokes the syncopation of jazz and the blinking electric lights of Broadway.'
Here we are trying to use cutting edge technology to transform gardening! LED lighting evokes the electric lights of Broadway, while the planting of taller grasses act like the Manhatten towers from which he looked down on to the grid pattern. The yellows remind me of the New York taxis. Well here they are in Stevington! Jonathan shipped them over and took the photograph. I think it has worked brilliantly; my groups love it!
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The Hokusai Garden is inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa with its dramatic crests and troughs interpreted through waves of various tall miscanthus and lower stipa tenuissima. Last spring we added another band of grasses to take advantage of the slope and add even more drama. Miscanthus Goliath and Professor Richard Hansen were chosen for their extra height. They have grownexceptionally well and the sutumn picture is a real treat.
Claude Monet has insprired another project for 2008. We have planted a large new garden in front of and between the Rothko Rooms creating a 180degree vista. It is inspired by Monet's Waterlily paintings where his reflections often show broad patches of gold with only small highlights of pink lilies. A very restricted pallette of grasses has been chosen to create this broad sweep, with pink echinaceas to provide the pinpricks of colour. Blue geraniums will add further colour, along with creamy white bidens, yellow solidagos and purple verbeans.
As the low evening light sweeps across it, something of Monet's magic appears. Well its true in summer and autumn; but as the midday sun moves behind in winter the area is transformed again; its only the first year, but the miscanthus seedheads catch the light and act as shimmering bulbs. So, so beautiful from close up or far away,s across it here to add text.