6.25.2009

Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet


Is anyone going to be in London this summer? Stop by Kew Gardens and think of me and then head over to the Barbican Gallery for their summer offering: 'Radical Nature: Art & Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009'. It looks like a great show, really interesting stuff. I love Agnes Denes' exhibit: Wheatfield-A Confrontation, 1982. The wheat fields were planted and harvested in the Battery Park Landfill, Manhattan.
This show is a retrospective, so B's bosses, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison- forerunners of the ecological art movement-were asked to include a piece that was originally exhibited in 1974. The piece is called 'Full Farm', which basically consists of raised beds and grow-lights in a gallery setting; which I think was cutting edge technology in 1974. Now it just looks like the museum staff have a little indoor allotment.

I bring this bit up because somehow, in the haze that followed giving birth, I agreed to design the plantings for this piece. Which sounds like over-commitment when I can hardly manage to dress myself before noon, but it seemed like fun at the time. Honestly, I can hardly recall what I put in each raised bed, but I think I did add some English wild spinach, chenopodiom bonus-henricus, in honor of our new little sprout, (common name, Good King Henry). I have no idea if this is commonly cultivated in the UK; I figured in London it might be considered a posh menu item, in a similar vein with California's dandelion greens, the edible variety of which is more of a wild chicory than what is usually seen gracing America's lawns. And what an awkward sentence, sorry. Anyway, do stop by the Barbican and graze on my design. Special prize offer for the first to send me pics!
It feels a little anti-climactic, my garden design debut at a London gallery, but who knows.....next year-Chelsea?

2 comments:

Blessed said...

reading the description of "full farm" was so funny, esp. reading that mysterious people planted leafy drugs in the beds, and, in short, the exhibit "was not loved." In some way that must have been a response understandable to the times and culture--so what will the reception be now? I would love to see pics of your work! : )

Miz Melly said...

Rosa - how exciting! So wonderful. I love reading about your knowledge of flowers and plants. Wish you could come give us some advice on our garden. We inherited my mother's front lawn with mimosa, rowan and yew trees but the grass is a nightmare.

Come over, the four of you, and we'll have a laugh by the Irish sea!!!

big loves to you and your G, B and H
Miz Melly

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.