This weekend (15th and 16th October) a marathon of gardening talks will be taking place at the Serpentine gallery in London.The subject matter covers all things garden related: from the history of garden design, poetry, exploration of their spacial, urban and architectural importance, conservation, bio-diversity, museums, Kew’s Seed Bank to talks on walled and kitchen gardens. They have an organised an fantastic line-up of speakers featuring documentary-maker Adam Curtis, artist Wolfgang Tillmans, gardener Dan Pearson, legendary French feminist writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous, artist Jake Chapman, filmmaker Sophie Fiennes, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and plenty more.
The Balcony Gardener is particularly excited to listen to the garden designer Stefan Boeri, the remarkable architect behind the 27 storey high Vertical Forest in Milan, an incredible feat of architecture and concept and another highlight for us will be Elizabeth Diller from New York’s High Line Park who will be speaking on agritecture.
The Serpentine organises its annual talk marathon each year, and this year the gardening inspiration springs from Piet Oudolf’s secret garden at the centre of the Peter Zumthor designed pavillion. Each summer the Serpentine commissions an architect to design a pavilion in the park next to the gallery; what’s particularly interesting this year is the focus on the garden. The pavilion was created for the garden rather than the other way round, the shape of the building represents “Hortus Conclucus” meaning “enclosed space.” In his work Piet Oudolf creates places of green urban refuge, he explains: “I imagined something to dream in, something loose and wild. I look for silhouettes and textures, plants that look interesting before they are in flower. I want visitors to see that architecture is simple and planting is complex. Looking into plants brings you into another kind of thinking, connected with inner space. That’s what a hortus conclusus is for. It’s simple, in a complex way.”
The Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon runs for the entire weekend with talks on both Saturday and Sunday.