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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can gardens tell stories?

I know that gardens can contain secrets (I was a little girl once) but can they tell stories? Can gardens reveal narratives to a person who knows how to read them? Or have I simply been reading too much into the cultivation of gardens and horticultural touring? (You need to read my last post first.) I know that the birch trees in the garden here at Tamara and George’s house are a reminder for my uncle George of our family's Russian heritage and the years he spent in St Petersburg as a young man, studying medicine, falling in love, and discovering Tarkovsky. I am imagine as George strolls his garden – “like the lord of the manor”, Tamara says – that those slender silver-branched trees that rustle moodily in the wind act like an aide-memoire prompting Russian recollections. Or perhaps just impressions. Well, that’s what I’d hope. And I’m sure the many trees, plants and flowers Tamara has planted – all of which Tamara calls “she”, as in “See how beautiful she’s looking!” – must provoke memories for her too. But what about for the strangers who visit gardens, like the horticultural tourists who ambled about here last weekend – does the garden tell them stories too, do you think?


AngelaCorrias said...

Yes, I like to think that gardens tell stories. I live close to a park in London, and inside there are some gardens with old-fashioned benches that remind the 19th century. There actually is a story behind that park, and when I look at the benches it seems like you are seeing ladies swanning about in their big dresses!

I've been reading some of your interviews over the web, your writing is very inspiring, not just for travelling but it also gives ideas for writing. I like when you give pratical insights of the travel writer's life. Really looking forward your own book with Terry!


laradunston said...

Oh gosh, Angela, I've just now discovered this beautiful message of yours... But at least now we have met and we are friends. I hope you'll forgive me for overlooking this. And I hope to write that book for you one day! x