The third piece of work in this 'summer' series is titled 'Hortus Domesticus" (Domestic Garden). It continues in a similar manner to Mr Treen's Botany Book. The content is once again inspired from observations in my garden. the work is partially bound - each signature consists of two pages of drawings or text which is inserted between pressed plant specimens. These fifteen signatures are wrapped in a vellum-like paper cover. The completed work is then contained within a dark ivy- clad box.
The restrictions of the summer have highlighted the importance of our domestic surroundings, and the role nature plays in maintaining our well being. while it has had its difficult moments, shielding has created an opportunity to explore what Robert McFarlane describes as 'the undiscovered country of the nearby". It has provided an opportunity to focus closely on the same small area over a period of time, thereby revealing details often by-passed for more distant horizons.
The plant specimens vary and are a mixture of commonly found weeds which seed themselves everywhere. Taking time to look at their structures shapes and textures reveals intricate root systems and finely threaded veins. As well as plants, an array of insect and animal life has visited the garden. Sadly not many small birds but I think this is in part due to the abundance of magpies - at times I have counted seven or eight all jostling for position in the neighbouring conifer. I observe a strict hierarchy within the conifer - crows dominate the top branches, under them the magpies cackle, while pigeons skulk in the lower branches.
As the flowers fade, and butterflies disappear we move into what Keats calls "The season of mist and mellow fruitfulness". Berries replace fruits and the garden is taken over by golden orb spiders constantly spinning fine webs across the the space. Perhaps this is the beginning of another book?