I visited Chelsea Flower Show this week and amid all the wonderful plants the literary world made its presence felt, particularly in my favourite category: the Artisan Gardens. Three had strong associations with the written word.
The link is most explicit in A Literary Garden, which is designed to be a poet’s retreat and is filled with hand-carved verses on the benches, bridge, sundial and water features. It also has a rather inviting cubby hole lined with logs.
Waterproof paper lines the walls of The Basildon Bond Centenary Garden, which is presented as a celebration of the stationery brand’s 100 year history. Fun touches like a reproduction of the Basildon Bond clock (where the 12 letters replace numbers) and a black wall-mounted post box add to the planting, which includes a paperbark maple whose peeling bark perfectly matches the theme.
The inspiration for gold medal winner A Postcard from Wales is the area surrounding Dylan Thomas’s home town of Laugharne. Soft pinks, whites and purples of the rose and allium are planted next to a silted river inlet.
To find out about other garden shows with a literary leaning, keep reading
Last night at the Brighton Festival, Carol Ann Duffy read poetry old and new to a packed auditorium. Both funny and moving, her words were well-received whether they were already learnt by heart or not yet known. The Poet Laureate began her hour-long set with a selection of poems from the The World’s Wife (the collection which got me hooked), then she read from Rapture and ended with her latest collection, The Bees, due to be published this autumn. This was the first time I’d heard Duffy read in person and it was entirely gripping.
To find out more about which poems Duffy performed, keep reading
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