Some will, I’m sure, recognize this piece of sandstone. It sat next to the entrance to the nursery for several years inscribed ‘Strictly No Painting en plein air’, which resulted in no end of indignant complaints “Why can’t we paint on plain air?” and I’d reply “Because it’s messy! We end up with puddles of paint all over the ground.”
After two or three years of this, it all became too much and so we invited Ian Marr down from his haunts in NSW to carve another silly joke on the opposite side: ‘Mower is Less’. At which time we moved the piece down into our meadow which we hardly ever mow of course. The interesting thing is that although the first inscription is Ian’s own little joke, the second ‘Mower is Less’ is borrowed from a rather famous garden in Scotland called Little Sparta (also known as Stoneypath).
It happens that Little Sparta is full of poetry and pieces of text carved into all sorts of materials. The garden was made by another Ian, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and it also happens Ian Marr spent time with Hamilton Finlay years ago and has been working in a similar vein ever since. Indeed, Ian Marr taught himself ‘letter cutting’ into slate and sandstone and his work features in many collections around Australia.
This is all by way of preamble to mention we will be installing a major piece by Ian into the centre of our Theatre Lawn later this month. This will replace the damaged piece (with the inscription by Tasso) which will be reconfigured and used elsewhere. The installation will take a couple of weeks and everyone is welcome to come along and see it happening.
By the way, please notice how wonderful the meadow is looking. I am beginning to suspect this summer has been the best for the garden in 25 years. The orange is ordinary old montbretia, which has been utterly breath-taking these past few days. And, in the distance, the white, I think is a kind of wild chrysanthemum and what’s known from English meadows as the ‘moon daisy’.
See you in the garden
This month in our Twilight Series
Evergreen Ensemble at Cloudehill Gardens
Music of the Highlands & Islands
Saturday 25th February 2017 at 6pm
Adults $30 Children (up to 16 years) $20
Forming part of our Music of the Highlands and Islands Twilight Series, Evergreen Ensemble brings you 'Airs for the Seasons', a musical tour through a Scottish country garden. Shane Lestideau (violin), Rosy Hunt (cello), Jessica Foot (oboe and fiddle) and Simon Rickard (bassoon) bring you works from 18th century Scotland by James Oswald, each piece inspired by a flower or vegetable with commentary by Simon Rickard. Also pieces by Purcell, McGibbon and fiery Scottish jigs and reels.