Transient Beauty

The Secret Map

“Nothing is static. Everything is evolving. Everything is falling apart.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

Nothing is static, as fictitious character Tyler Durden says in the novel Fight Club. Certainly not in Seoul, a city whose internal cogs move so fast it wouldn’t know how to slow down, continuously and rapidly evolving. So too for the country’s seasons, which are indeed distinct, yet vastly over-proportioned in the extreme ends of Summer and Winter. Spring doesn’t last long.

The first warm winds of the year allow many things to bloom in Korea. The first empty rice wine bottles of the season sprout all over the country’s convenience store seating. The unveiling of the lower halves of the nation’s young women mirror the covering of all things flesh-related in the old. Floral arrangements are furiously installed in any green space around the cities as the first minute buds on the trees begin…

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The Evolution of a Garden

The Gravetye Gardeners Journal

cyparis papyris Cyperus papyrus is one of the more unusual plants we grow at Gravetye. It is a native of the Nile and because of its warm, aquatic demands, can be a little tricky to grow. Through the winter it’s kept in a warm glass house and then once the water has warmed up (around June), we plant it in the lily pond for all to enjoy its exotic ‘pom-pom’ foliage.

The ancient Egyptians used Cyperus papyrus to make parchment. This parchment was very valuable and thus reused time and time again; old text was erased for something new. The previous text could never be completely erased and so it was possible to read the preceding writings, like an accumulation of different stories. This layering is called a ‘palimpsest’.

A historic garden is also like a palimpsest. It has known different times, different owners and gardeners and sometimes redesigned. These layers…

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