Letter to Monty 38

Dear Monty,

Madmen and storms.

6/6/12 Back to work as Paul the nurse. Yesterday this madman had all his paintings photographed professionally for the first time. What happens next ?

Madmen deliver profound messages, perhaps 'madness' is closer to the truth of what we all are than is 'sanity' ?

What I see in artists, poets, writers, musicians/composers and yes, gardeners, is that often there is an edge to them - they see beyond the obvious - there is a soul connection to their lives - perhaps even a spiritual dimension to their vision. This is why they are akin in my mad mind to prophets or seers. There is a depth and sense of revelation to life, which sadly has its downside when that life is sometimes flat and hard as iron.

I have been thinking of gardens more as an expressive art form recently, this has been spurred on by visiting The Veddw and by reading more and more bloggery on gardens. ( Interesting blog post today by Noel Kingsbury on German gardens and art) Gardens are surely the most difficult art form to work with - because of the nature of nature -  which is not to be contained or shaped by humans - it wants to be what it is. Gardens are contrived and constrained - even the 'natural' ones.

Charles Hawes and Anne Wareham ( a privilege to meet them ) sat with Sue and me on various benches in The Veddw. At one point looking out from the wood down onto the hollow of clipped box, yew and beech - we mused on how it might look if it were unattended for years unsculpted by the gardeners hand and eye. Needless to say it was a hard thing to imagine, but the hedges would become trees and compete for light and space - really it would not bear thinking about - the form and structure would all but disappear. This made me more positive about homo sapiens - despite all the havoc we wreak upon this thin skin of soil and rock, we can and do make beautiful impressions upon this earth - they may be fleeting but they are a reflection of our vulnerability, passion and desire. We create spaces which enhance our experience of living. What do you think Monty ?

8/6/12 Another storm brews just as one passes. I really did do the 'chelsea chop' on my sedums after watching GW this evening. I went out into the garden at 9.05 pm in the dusk to put the chickens to bed. The garden has survived the storm remarkably well, and the whites and blues in the dusky light shone luminescent. I cannot really claim to be a gardener in the sense of being knowledgeable about plants - so I suppose my garden is not really a garden...it is an amateurish attempt at gardening.

Even though I have watched GW since the days of Geoff Hamilton and before him Percy Thrower, and have heard advice on plants and planting over and over and over again - some of it seems to sink in but other bits pass me by. I have learnt from all this almost subliminally. I do not see the point of storms over when to do this or that. I have never taken lavender cuttings in the way Carol Klein did, I just cut bits off and stuck them in the soil - but have kept them going for 12 years. I appreciate the advice - but I think we learn what we want to learn, and to the level that we can afford. For example those beautiful large pots you controversially whitewashed must have cost about £300 each. I would have to use plastic....this is the reality for the 'working class' gardener.

My garden is cheap but a treasure of unmeasurable worth to me. A gift from God.



  1. So you are off to see the Great Man Himself tomorrow? We wait with trepidation to witness the effect upon your sensitive soul.

    It would be interesting to hear what digger Monty thinks of gardens as art.

    You are right too. It is the worst thing to attempt and is much about beauty, which is totally unfashionable.

    I think beauty is worth a revival.Bugger digging and lily beetles. Gnomic Utterance no. 3

    1. Thank you, again you made me laugh out loud .... but Monty need not worry I will not be asking him any questions. Having read the comment from Trillium I think I may start writing letters to someone else...I am not a stalker...did you think I was creepy?

    2. Anne have just come back from listening to Monty talk about Longmeadow...I think he has been reading the letters ! Gardens as art ? Yes, he is for art and not for artifice of the tv gardening kind. Perhaps it is a contradiction and a compromise to keep presenting, but then it is his day job. He too is for beauty of light and form and of nature doing its thing...sorry Anne but I see more that is common to both yourself and Charles than you would probably want to recognise ! :-)

  2. You write beautifully and evocatively Paul.

    But I confess to finding this whole 'Letter to Monty' thing all slightly creepy. A bit like blog-stalking...

    1. Thank you for your comment,yes I see your point, it's not meant to be creepy but light hearted, just communicating with someone who I feel a connection with in spirit. I will try not to be creepy, Monty is just a 'hook' to hang ideas on. :-)

  3. No, I don't think you are creepy. Maybe Monty is intrinsically creepy?

    1. Oooo ! Do you think so ? Maybe that is just the cheery tv persona coming over even when in truth he is not always feeling cheery... I know that feeling well (not being tv persona) and I think it shows sometimes in my job...but we are all a bit like that perhaps ?


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