Yesterday a few of us went to see A little chaos, a strange film confection supposedly set in the gardens of Versailles as they were being constructed. Oh dear; sorry Mr Rickman, but it was pretty bad, a little chaotic indeed and rife with anachronism and cliché. Yet there must be rich stories there, of the people who ordered, planned and built, and of the garden’s growth. A lost opportunity. It was like seeing a photograph of somewhere strange, exotic and beautiful, almost entirely obscured by the noisy tourist taking a selfie in front of it.
All fine gardens tell their own stories, weaving in and out of the lives of their passing owners, none of whom ever see the whole story (think Sissinghurst for example). Even my conventional small garden has its own modest narrative arc. This week’s instalment has been happening in the vegetable plot.
A plot indeed, which develops subplots and subtexts down the years, elaborating meanings as the story’s characters move in and out. Some of the players are plants, some are animals or people, and some are artefacts.
And another theme running through the story: dirt. As night fell, I sieved more compost, an oddly satisfying task. The mixture makes a dark fine bed for the seeds to rest in, looking so welcoming I felt a passing inclination to lie down in it myself. Memento mori?
Venus and the moon watch the episodes. Regularly.