9 Jul 2016

Artist in Residence Bulletin 9

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Some of you may recollect that I was given a piano a few months back, a gift from one of the gardeners, Ayshea Pinci, to help kick start the residency and furbish my poly-tunnel artist studio.

After months of speculating about possible uses for the said piano, which if anything has provided a talking point (as well as discordant music for the plants) – its fate is now taking shape. It is being trialled as a possible planter, to provide visual inspiration to enhance the vastly expanding stock of plants from the Garden itself, now sold within its Y Pot Blodyn Plant Centre. This marks an important development in plant sales area of the Garden. As visitors wander through the Garden they often fall in love with certain plants, and the new and impressive stock of plants now propagated from the Garden itself means that people will be able to acquire some of these plants for their own gardens, a real treat to punctuate their visit…

All winter long, I have been fascinated to witness in the secrecy of the nursery poly-tunnel, tucked away from the public eye, the careful propagation and growing of hundreds of distinctive and healthy plants destined for the Plant Centre. This ant-like work has been conducted by Ayshea herself (who I like to think of as the queen of the poly-tunnel) and her colleague and experienced nursery man, Simon Richards, who carefully choose the best plant specimen from the Garden, from which they propagate the new stock for sale.

During the half term school break, Ayshea’s two daughters, Seirian and Arian made a good job of painting the piano, which we chose to be grey in order to offer a suitable foil for all the lush planting it was about to accommodate. With our piano ready, I was then given free run of the poly-tunnel to choose any plant I wished in order to in order to trial the display: with such an array of beautiful and interesting plants to play with, I cannot tell you how amazing this felt. I was reminded of the kind of ecstatic childhood feeling that came with Christmas. It was so gratifying being able to construct and unashamedly seductive exhibition of plants.

Satisfyingly, my Tetrapanax papyrifer (rice paper plant), which has been a faithful companion during my residency and abundantly photographed, is earmarked for taking centre stage in the display. Fittingly this plant originally from Formosa (now Taiwan), was used to print the original first paper money in Far East Asia: a perfect symbol for economic growth .

Till next time…