Sunday, 31 May 2015

Gardens of the World

Happy Queen's Birthday!

Yesterday I watched Audrey Hepburn present Gardens of the World. She, looking spiffing in her Ralph Lauren and kitten heels, walked around the gardens of Paris remarking on rose gardens, parks, trees, and long allees. There were glimpses of George Washington's garden in the US, elaborate Italian gardens, baroque tapestry formal gardens, gorgeous greenery growing in ruins, the immense gushing water fountains of Versailles, quaint English landscape gardens with grassland and trees and ha-has, and my favourite, the English country garden (or cottage garden).

How inspiring! And that is just the first DVD. I think its amazing that some of the leaders of those countries, created gardens and then gifted them to the public for all to enjoy and care for. I suppose that is the privilege of being a wealthy landowner, like Prince Charles. Instead of raping and pillaging, they grow and nurture. I am currently reading another book by Prince Charles about his organic gardens, of Highgrove, Birkhall and Clarence House. He writes (with some help) about the organic techniques he uses in developing his garden. Things like composting, water conservation, feeding the soil.

I can see how he can be seen as a kind of eccentric, obsessed person. Others probably thought why isn't he fighting battles and going forth to conquer like the Kings and Princes of old. Well, maybe he's already learned to turn his swords into pruning hooks.  Even though the French King Louis XIV created that grand monstrosity that is Versailles, requiring thousands of gallons of water and manpower to maintain it, at least his luxury and excess was all in the pursuit of beauty rather than destruction. The angry French peasants who called for the Revolution probably didn't thinks so or appreciate it though! But Marie Antoinette, even though she said 'let them eat cake' was the original hipster, wanting to live the hippy lifestyle on a champagne budget. She was down to earth, and somewhat naive...even though it probably seemed like her head was in the clouds (and on the chopping block). It was not her fault she was groomed for royalty.

Well, I'm going to try and make that rhubarb crumble now.