The Orange Tip

mattcollinsgarden.co.uk

Fledged Wren

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…fledged itself hard into the garden glass yesterday morning. I spent a few minutes cornering the little thing in the corridor, before releasing into the sky from the courtyard. Spring ain’t no picnic…

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Evening gardening in Central London

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Early evening very much the best time of day – and the best kind of light – to enjoy the Museum’s front gardens. Particularly the woodland bed, designed by Dan Pearson Studio,  where in spring Narcissus runs alongside sulphuric epimedium and bright white Ipheion ‘Alberto Castillo’, borrowing the haze above the Thames for a backdrop.

Central Oregon

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My preoccupation with the landscape of western America has grown steadily over the years, beginning in 2014 with a pivotal road trip through the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon. Articulating the West’s magnetism for naturalists – why it remains a draw for environmentalists and gardeners alike – is a task better left to professionals: Jonathan Raban (journalist and Englishman moved to Seattle) summarises it perfectly, writing in Granta Journal back in 2008;

“In the dry and lightly populated West, for all the ranching, farming, logging, mining, damming and city-building that have gone on for the last century and a bit, (…) Americans have altered the land less immutably than the Romans, Saxons and Normans altered the face of England. Most of what has been done here still looks like a recent project, a work in early progress, that could yet be stopped..

(…) here, where the lust for the antique is no less keen than in Britain, the true antiquity is wilderness. Old mining towns, chasing tourist dollars, deck themselves out with false storefronts, wooden boardwalks, faux shoot-’em-up saloons, but nobody’s fooled. The real thing – the pricelessly antique antique – is deep forest, the river running wild, the open prairie. There is no second nature here to fall back on, only an either/or choice between nature as it was before we came and the dreck we’ve piled on it in the recent past..”

The concept of ‘Second Nature’ explains it all for the European, whose natural world appears wild, yet reflects centuries of human alteration. In the West, however, primal Nature remains visible just under the surface.

I have passed through central Oregon three times now, each time more enthralling than the last. Here are a few photos I took, with my dad’s old Canon 35mm, during the last, all-too-short visit.

Boardman road

Oregon Diary

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Everything in its Right Place

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This morning was one of those Garden Museum mornings where, inside the small box of our courtyard garden, conditions felt warm, calm and bright; redolent of the coming season. Our central Melianthus major has so far pulled through the winter safely – covered until last week – and with any luck, flower buds will soon follow.

New Book: FOREST, Walking Among Trees

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Exciting to finally see this thing on book shelves following its launch last week at Ink@84 bookshop in Islington. Two wonderful years stalking valleys, mountains, prairies and rivers for interesting and often irregular stories about ten familiar trees. Stunning photography by Roo Lewis.

FOREST Walking Among Trees is published by Pavilion Books, available from all big – and little – book stores.

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Hortus Journal: Courtyard of Curiosities

Cover article for a favourite garden journal, Hortus, writing about the Garden Museum’s recent redevelopment and resulting garden, designed by Dan Pearson.

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Seasonal Flux

Populus albaWhite poplar and its unilateral disregard for autumnal hype.

Sardinia Water

000031960038A new one for me; water unlike anywhere I’ve been & wild rosemary fresh from the sea.

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Garden Design, Barnes

IMG_0650In 2016 I redesigned a garden in Barnes for a private client. Good to return in spring earlier this year to see how it’s been getting on.

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New Website

It feels a little strange coming back to the blog after so long; various exciting yet somewhat consuming commissions having taken precedence over the last couple of years, both gardens and garden writing. Good to return to this site though, and I hope to use it more frequently going forward for thoughts, images and little side-reflections regarding the wonderful world of horticulture and wild Nature.

I have now assembled my work for a new website, which can be viewed here: Matt Collins Garden.