Monday, 17 December 2012


The Gardens Trusts are being nudged out of their comfort zone!  If we're going to attract more members and to be ready for the Capability Brown Tercentenary (CB300) we'll need to engage with social media.  That was the message Robin Saklatava (Marketing Manager of London Parks and Gardens Trust) gave to the recent AGT South East Forum.

According to Robin, engaging with social media is 'like going to an enormous party, putting on your best clothes and trying to be entertaining - but without putting your foot in it!'.  By the time Robin had finished with us, even the biggest technophobes could see that, with a bit more training, the positive aspects of social media could work for us.  Keep an eye on the AGT website for future training opportunities.

I don't know about you, but increasingly I find myself turning my phone off rather than on, particularly if I'm somewhere green and beautiful.  It's difficult to really engage with anything (or anyone for that matter) if there's a chance of being distracted.  Being able to communicate on a global scale is an incredible and wonderful thing - but just not all of the time.  Perhaps by 2016 and CB300 we'll have the balance right!

By way of light relief I went along to The Plant School Christmas Lecture given by James Alexander Sinclair  Amidst many amusing stories about his garden designing antics, James made a serious and timely point.  He said that plants and gardens are all about looking.  If we don't take the time to stop and look we don't see what is fleetingly there. I went home and did just that.  Pink, plump shoots of peonies are just starting to nudge their way to the surface.  Heartening as we head towards the shortest day!  

Seeing and describing is very much the business of Vocal Eyes - a charity I heard about at this year's Heritage Alliance 2012 Heritage Day  Vocal Eyes provide audio descriptions of the arts for the visually impaired.  They describe everything from plays, to architecture and gardens.  One of their latest projects invited prominent Londoners to describe some of the capital's hidden landmarks.  Listen to David Harewood's description of The Buxton Memorial Fountain or artist Bobby Baker's description of Paradise Park in Holloway

Arguably, 'seeing' isn't always in gardeners' best interests.  James pointed out that if we're choosing benches for our gardens, they had better be beautiful ones.  Why? Because we'll rarely sit on them for long.  The minute we do, we spot a weed and get up to deal with it!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

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