the cultivation of plants, breeding of animals, or production of cells or tissues.
— ORIGIN Latin cultura ‘growing, cultivation’, from colere ‘cultivate’.
I’ve never been able to separate what I do in gardens & other open spaces from what I do on the page. Sometimes words appear in the gardens alongside plants. These, like the plants are all for that particular site — some may be transplanted, like the herb labels; others would wither in different circumstances & need to be seen as part of the overall whole.
I’ve worked extensively in Botanic & other Gardens, some of these refer to me as poet, others as garden designer & others as land artist, a description that’s redolent of 1970s earth-moving techniques. I prefer planting & letting natural forces participate in the work. Even in the inscribed works, I encourage the growth of moss.
Work can be seen on site in the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow, & in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, which has both inscribed work & a planting — the Kaki Tree - a sapling grown from seed of a surviving persimmon tree (kaki in Japanese) after the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
In the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I invited people (& Botanic Gardens) worldwide to send tree seeds for germination & growing on. The results came from Siberia, Aberdeen, Monaco, Australia & all parts in between & were exhibited in identical earthenware pots in the Garden Gallery at the Sculpture Park. YSP has always put sculpture in the landscape — it’s famous (among others) for its Henry Moores, so I put the landscape back into the gallery. The accompanying book is Seed Catalogue.
Herb labels — exercises in both poetry & labelling plants (including unwanted plants like equisetum or Japanese Knotweed) have appeared in various places as plants permit.
Entirely ephemeral work has been made on Holy Island, off Arran — made while dry stane dyking there. A poem concerning the nature & words of work was painted in water-soluble black ink, gradually washing off in west coast rains.
time spent with black parrot queen of the night tulip
bulbs why not working sitting