Renaissance gardening - it’s no picnic…
The project has been lucky enough to spend A day in the life of … Peter, Jura House Garden, this month.He’d recently constructed the prototype of the whisky-barrel-and-fallen-tree sun lounger that you see above. Other wooden benches of his adorn the garden’s sun traps and ebullient sight lines, though the only time we sat down on one such structure was to have coffee from a flask mid-afternoon while doing a quick recap of the events he had seen in the garden and on the estate over the last 36 years.
The rest of the time we talked while he weeded. He weeded while he described washing the gravel on the paths, described some of the hybrids he had concocted and their names purple pap, mirjam, described how the wind had stripped off all the long leaves from the eucalyptus above the line of the metre-thick wall. He barrowed the weeds while he pointed out where the butterflies lay their eggs every year, described the mulching with seaweed and the composting-making, listed the historical artefacts he had found in the soil-pile midden that had been started outside the garden wall in Georgian times.
He cut-back plants while he talked about designing by colour and shape, holding up a flower or a leaf against something he was experimenting with in the nursery, weeded as he described moulding the future by constantly deciding what to pull out and what to leave.
Meanwhile, in the background of the recordings, his son mowed, on foot, a 4 acre field in front of the house, round the tree, up, back, round the tree… The industry and patience that make natural beauty even better must run in that family.