Monday, 17 August 2009


Looked in at the Garden for first time in three, four months. Foliage moving in and winding its way through and over- wrapping up the garden. It doesn't take long. I was amazed. Actually impressed. Not that the garden or space has "gone" only that it has absorbed back into that free growth of unlimited extension until the extension winds back and forth on itself because it is kept out of another parallel tamed bit which is where the formal gardens of the charity are.
I went down through their area and past the disused tennis courts where people go for a smoke. Because of the low level naughtiness of what they are doing there- some kind of fall-out of school rituals, they take no notice of my tresspass- even kind of wink me on or am I imagining that? That I am in the cool gang for a while. The growth is like an etch-a-sketch scribbling over itself or a fly buzzing around a very particular scope of play. Density must surely come about. Maybe that is even how perspective was discovered. A kind of mistake that makes something of itself. And then all the winding theads lock one another in place.

A garden isn't plants. It's the cutting back of plants. The shaping of channels of vacumed space through those plants. It is negative enterprise or good hairdressing. The work is in hacking away violently because any gardener will know that every cut is an inspiration to the hormonal intelligence of plants, to grow some more. So you get low level dwarf bushinness with plenty of space around and above. The circuits are maintaned. The animals wander and birds fly without crashing into air nets. The chairs and the small red table I`d put out on the very last day in March are still there, grassses weaving around them so that if you were to sit down you would be half in camouflage. The cups and tea-pot would be completely drowned out unless you were standing right above them. A black cat nudges into me from the outside of the meshed wire fence where I am standing and through which individual escaped strands of foliage point. I nose up closer to that fence. There is something wonderful about what the place is making of itself without me lifting a finger. I feel drunkenly let off the hook. An escapee. A quirky get-away as if I hopped out on a whim just as the fence went up. And now the reversal that is taking place makes me want to thank my lucky stars that it is entirely unfeasable for me to now garden that space. I want to hug people as one back from the brink. To drink in the routines all around me. The comings and goings that scupper around the edges of that vacancy. And it is because it too was filled with details of comings and goings. Because it was made feasable by the removal of plant-life- by its continous day on day shaping like carving out a breathing chamber. Only to then find out that air exists on the other side of that special facility. The sick kid in the air tight ventilator room who suddenly goes out and doesn't infact die. Maybe that is what I expected and it didn't happen and it's a miracle and all the new foliage is a kind of intensity of lung that claws its way back into london. That's enough. That punched out hair style- incredulous, unmanageable that wraps around your ears and crawls down your neck. Embarassing but a sign of good health.
I saw a program on the Berlin Wall a few days ago because it went in 1989, twenty years ago. There was a piece in it about a border control man in Hungary where people from the east had gathered for a "picnic" and a group crossing. Conveniantly the officials were not there on the day and so it was left up to the border control man to make things lax and just let the people keep coming through. We used to bleed in and out of the garden like that over the course of years while the day to day running of the charity beside us went on somwhere collectively knowing about this haemorage but individually not quite rememering and so being shocked again on each new encounter. And it was only finally when the fence went up and time was set aside in the job remits of various employees at the charity to evict us that a crunch point came. We had a three day event that summer-last summer- in the garden inbetween various eviction notices; our own "picnic".
An article appeared in a local paper headed "Memory Gardens, Stay of Execution" The chief executive of the charity got angry about negative publicity and called us devious. The fence went up. A tangible differentiation occured. We got kicked out. I think that was necessary to happen because all this "Niceness" of charities only goes so far because at the end of the day they are a huge corporation. A businness. And in the plans for the new housing development on this piece of land that they are trying to sell and that, due to the recession has been pushed way off the radar, we do not even register. Look at google earth Legard Road, running alongside Bedford Works, Highbury and Islington, London. We are a vacant lot. So the issue of those weeks was interesting as a brief newsworthy piece. And now, thank god, the garden is being rubbed out and it isn't us or them who are doing the real rubbing out, it's the plant life itself. And it is mercifully more intelligent than any of us.

Passing the smokers on my way back through, they, like us before are simply going from here to there, following a workeable line, maybe cutting corners with work quotas to push out a little elbow room for a cigarette or too in a disused tennis court. So what. Didn't we do the same, pushing back some weeds to make room for a teapot and cups? Enough time to get away from the frenetic traffic of the road. But we are all on the job in one way or another. And the news item that a large Care Corporation has somehow sinned or at least unjustly failed to meet the needs or concerns of a bunch of autistic gardeners is neither here nor there. It will be swamped in the further features that are already enveloping it. Charities need autistic melt-down. They need to save people from themselves. The garden project- its coming and its going, reversed the order of need for ever. It will never feel the same. The garden disintegrating into itself is part of that reversal. And it is getting along just fine. We did our bit. Held back a tide so that it could come back again all the stronger.
We are free to roam now.

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