Thursday, January 19, 2012
For whatever circumstantial reasons, it was a culture delighting in its newfound voice, a massive heritage and emerging media.
I come across a network of often eccentric personalities expressing themselves through interconnected art-forms.
James Lees-Milne ( 1908-1997 ) appears to have been born to write about Britain's glorious architecture, being acquainted with the lives that inherited or were informed by the finest of it.
And what has this to do with gardening?
To me, it's all about the recognition of surroundings, and of making commitments strong enough to rescue them from threat.
Gardeners, I presume, are fighters, building or defending their sense of sanctuary. The world we live in is often ruthless and self-serving: art, buildings, nature and gardens are vulnerable. To garden, to cultivate anything of worth, is to rebel against meaninglessness, to preserve a space from chaos, or, at least, to negotiate some sort of sustainable deal with chaotic forces.
"Ancestral Voices is the first of three volumes of a diary James Lees-Milne kept from 1942 to 1947 when he was employed to inspect historic buildings offered by their...owners to the National Trust. Lively, frank, witty, sometimes scandalous, it is immensely entertaining reading." - from the back jacket; with grateful thanks to the estate of James Lees-Milne and Faber and Faber.