One can read about and be inspired by gardens and people working in the landscape around them but nothing beats actually going and sitting in it, walking through it, touching the plants and then sitting some more. If there is a cup of early grey so much the better.
The drizzle only enhanced this installation, I call it that because it is sadly temporary. The Serpentine Gallery, in London’s Hyde Park, is showcasing a piece by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor with the internal planted space conceived by Dutch plants-genius Piet Oudolf. It is called Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.
The space is modernist and a bit boxy and yet the black hessian like wall texture is pleasing to touch. The high dim corridor leading from exterior to the interiors are pleasing and on a hot day a good place to observe from, I imagine.
It drizzled when we visited. What surprises is the size of the inside. Wide wall benches hugging the edges, with low cafe tables and solid metal and fabric picnic seats carefully scattered before them. The viewers are thus allowed to sit and observe the swathe of familiar Oudoulf planting or indeed simply to sit and talk a deep breath or two or peace and quiet.
The planting has grown up, the other side now more obscured than in the PR images, it gives the delicious feeling of privacy and enclosure.
A wide roof stretches across above and today, drips persistently onto the gravel mulched edge of the planting – keeps the watering down! – The expanse of roof blocks out the trees and the resulting expanse of pale grey sky contrasting with the dark roof, it is satisfying somehow, I imagine a bright blue day and the colour contrast then, more satisfaction – must come back.
The tea van, a cutesy French corrugated affair, supplies earl grey and we sit for another hour, talking quietly about plants, planting, families before sitting back to people watch.
I wish is was permanent, wonder if they could move it somewhere?