Run away to the Athenaeum Hotel on Piccadilly http://www.athenaeumhotel.com/ to drink champagne with one of my garden heros, Patrick Blanc http://www.verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com/ and watch as Tim Richardson is nearly decapitated by a flying plant. It has been dislodged from the top Patrick’s stunning new planting on the outside walls of this otherwise lumpen building. Well, there’s a high wind. Tim, showing sang froid worthy of Queen Victoria, simply picks up the plant tries to replant it in the hotel’s window box. I bring Patrick over and tell him what’s just happened. Patrick is alarmed and says to Tim:
‘Be careful – that is a very special plant.’
Patrick is a consummate plantsman
Walk to work talking to Mark Stephens my mate who’s defending Assange. A green woodpecker flies up across the path.
Along the canal a heron pecks at a sandwich surrounded by a flock of seagulls.
The gardeners in Queen Mary’s garden are pruning but will not let me take one of the rose buds which looks like antique silk
FT’s office party. Buses chug us along the Thames, South Bank lights twinkling in the water, to a nightclub overlooking Regent’s Street. Wembley lighting up the sky in one direction, millennium wheel in another. Cranes everywhere. A magnificent Egyptian frieze around the top of the building opposite.
Walk home past bling Christmas lights where Kentish Town Road crosses Regents canal..two man-sized snowmen, flashing multi-coloured lights
Ian came up with some definitions of a garden. Which is brave because no one has managed a decent definition- ever. And it’s been a while since Adam and Eve started the garden business.
Adam and Eve were too busy eating apples to define where they were but we British should have come up with a definition by now. Even the OED definition (“enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables”) was deemed inadequate. Last year, in the High Court, Lord Justice Moses said, ‘That definition is clearly now too narrow, as the current fashion for wild gardens and meadow areas amply demonstrates.
‘The reality is that no description will categorically establish whether a piece of land is a garden or not. It is incumbent on the fact finder to determine its use.
‘It is important to look at the relationship between the owner and the land, and the history and character of the land and space.’
Is the true definition: ‘the only place where the British feel able to express themselves’?
Your thoughts here, please.