Archives for the month of: February, 2011

Anyone who’s driven to Stranraer to catch the ferry to Ireland – or, as we were – has just driven that way to see south west Scotland’s beguiling public gardens such as Logan – will have noticed the belt of cute self-built shacks facing the sea.
I have a love of shacks. I’ve even built a rather nice one myself. But these are really special – hell, this one has its own rockery that’s bigger than it is. Complete with statues.
And just look at the colour of that lawn compared to the dismal turf on the hill behind: ┬áSomeone’s OD’ed on Miracle-Gro and they just don’t care – it’s the Wild West here.

Hoofing about the waterways of East London is becoming a regular activity for me and Nina Pope, researching a commission we have accepted from the (wait for it, fanfare) Olympic Development Authority

In Springfield Park (near Clapton) we passed the greenhouses of the acclaimed Growing Concerns organic low-carbon (etc etc) veg supplier. More interesting to look at though were these extraordinary, reptilian trees determined to grow on the very top of this 2m high tumble-down wall. Leafless, it’s hard to guess what brutish species they are – elder or ash is my guess – but hats off to them whatever they are, for sheer tenacity.

I wish this photo was better, but…
I snapped this odd beauty a few years ago somewhere in ‘Burns’ country’. That’s the roadside signs’ name for a nicely forgotten nook of Ayrshire that’s thankfully failed to fully capitalise on its association with the national bard. But then I’m unfairly comparing it to the Lake District (where I live), a remorselessly tourist-centred place that wouldn’t hesitate to use William Wordsworth to endorse a euthanasia clinic or Beatrix Potter to sell locally-branded dildos.

I digress.
Now, most farmers don’t have much time for gardening of any kind, so that makes this delightful Lilliputian theme park in a farmyard such a surprise. Arranged a little like some kind of showground for Cindy dolls on ponies, we have a bizarre and folksy array of handmade and shop-made sculptures, pots, statuary, rubber bits and bobs, and – mysteriously – a neat pile of straw.
All studded across the kind of lush lawn that our friends in the South can only dream about.