RHS Harlow Carr in July

Once again to Harlow Carr, this time on a slightly brighter day, though maybe still with more cloud than was forecast, as is evident in some of the images. It’s a wonderful place though in almost any weather and in mid summer is just full of colour and life and vitality. There are already some hints of the “mellow fruitfulness” to come, but mostly the theme is about a fulness of leaf and bloom. Photographically I found myself really enjoying the notion of filling the viewfinder with the colour and texture of the plants, cutting out any sense of context or scale. I don’t know whether that gets to be genuinely surreal or impressionist; maybe that’s me just trying to be a touch over the top in my assessment. In the end I’ll settle for the sense of joy and of a kind of natural spiritual awareness to which the place points.

Two human elements that were evident – not obtrusive but creatively evident. This place doesn’t make itself, it’s not a “natural” garden in which nature is simply allowed to take its course. Rather it’s a dynamic mix of that which is inherent in nature and that which is learned and practised by human hand which is on show here. So there are the gardeners, many of them volunteers I guess, who were weeding, tidying and spreading a wonderfully rich looking compost. Then there were the professionals, armed with very impressive looking kit, building some sort of rock formation in the stream. It will be fascinating to see where that has moved on to come the August visit. How brilliant to be gardening with a mechanical digger!

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