11 May 2016

Artist in Residence Bulletin 8

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

As one of my last visual interventions at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, it was decided that we would plant a tree to celebrate the arrival of the baby son of Piers Lunt, one of the gardeners working at the Garden.

His 9 months old son is called Rowan. Rowans or Mountain Ash are typically strong, flexible trees capable of withstanding all kinds of weather and growing conditions. They are resistant to air pollution, wind or snow pressure. The type of Rowan tree that was chosen for baby Rowan is Sorbus hupehensis (originally from the Hupeh region in Western China), a beautiful specimen that produces stunning pink berries in the autumn. Fittingly, the tree has now taken pride of place in the Woods of The World area of the Botanic Garden, planted by Piers himself, in presence of his partner Augusta and their son, baby Rowan.

It was a wonderful afternoon, that felt both special and meaningful – quite ritualistic in many ways, a gesture through time and generations … Baby Rowan gave the horticultural practice of soil testing a whole new meaning by shoving lumps of it in his mouth, whilst Piers, Augusta and myself talked fluidly about all kinds of subjects including the best way to plant trees, politics, human order and permaculture. I very much liked the way Piers went against the horticultural rule book, and decided not to stake the young tree… perhaps a metaphor for the way children shouldn’t be mollycoddled. I hope that little Rowan can visit his tree in years to come and get much enjoyment from it.

Till next time…