Thursday, 6 June 2013

Garden visiting

If you're in London this weekend you won't be short of gardens to visit.  It's Open Garden Squares Weekend - an annual and much anticipated event, organised by London Parks and Gardens Trust. It couldn't happen without the help of the Trust's many wonderful volunteers.  It's been such a success in London that similar events are starting to appear elsewhere in the country - so look out for happenings in Bristol and Dublin too.

Yet another County Gardens Trust member, Tim Richardson, is the guiding light behind the very successful Chelsea Fringe.  This is the last weekend of the 2013 Fringe.  The forecast is looking good, so why not go along and give it your support?

(copyright Liz Ware)
I did some garden visiting of my own last week.  Sadly, it was less of a pleasure than it should have been. Monasterium de Wijngaard, a 13th century Beguinage in Bruges, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation was intended to preserve this simple green space (and its gentle architecture) as a place of silence and reflection.  Unfortunately, it seems to have had the opposite effect.

I visited on a Sunday morning and watched (or perhaps that should be heard) hoards of tourist groups being led through its peaceful greenness.  There were plenty of signs asking people to be silent, but that just wasn't happening.

Large numbers of visitors aren't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, enjoying silence with a crowd of people can be a very powerful experience.  But our lack of ability to respect the spirit of a garden can be a real problem.  If you find yourself in Bruges, do go and have a look. It's a wonderful place, it just needs its visitors to show a little more respect.

Looking forward to meeting lots of you in Lancashire later this month for the Lowther Castle Study Day.

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