26 May 2011

What would Miss Jekyll think?

On Tuesday I attended a talk in Kensington held by some serious gardening people, some of whom may have wished to be elsewhere. The topic - whither garden design? - attracted many well-groomed ladies of a certain age, fresh from the Chelsea Flower Show, and a few young people. The conversation between two ladies nearby was very engrossing, 'He was an anti-sexual. He was probably a virgin when he died...' but was rudely interrupted by the arrival of the speakers. A full five minutes after the introductions and several small smatterings of applause, Tim Richardson the journalist and co-chair suggested that we might congratulate Cleve West, who was sitting on a metal bistro chair politely waiting to be questioned about the proposed topic. He had won Best in Show at Chelsea earlier that day. Enthusiastic clapping.

Noel Kingsbury helped to steer Dan Pearson and Andy Sturgeon through a discussion on the current appetite for naturalistic drifts and apparent rejection of form and was this not heretical to the arts and crafts tradition? Whenever the conversation became more amorphous, like a Missouri meadow, Tim Richardson would lean in and cry 'But what would Miss Jekyll say?'

Cleve West's response to this badgering from Miss Jekyll (via Mr Richardson) was to talk about James Alexander-Sinclair. He has been known to chuck pots over his shoulder and plant them - naturalistically - wherever they land. This can be a difficult thing to do. And no, madam, you do not move each pot just a little to the left or slightly to the right if it hasn't landed in quite the right place.

No comments:

Post a Comment