TCD Botanical Symposium ‘The Poetry of Plants’ Featuring Renowned Garden Experts and Authors

Posted on: 10 November 2008

A botanical symposium on gardens featuring – The Independent’s gardening correspondent and author Anna Pavord,  taxonomist and curator at the National Botanic Gardens,’ Matthew Jebb,  author of Garden Plots: The Politics and Poetics of  Gardens, Dr Shelley Saguaro,  along with award-winning garden designer, Andrew Wilson –  will take place in Trinity College on Saturday, November 15th next.  The botanical symposium forms part of  TCD’s annual Lewis Glucksman Memorial Symposium organised by Trinity’s  Long Room Hub* in association with Dublin City Public Libraries and An Bord Bia.

Humans have long shaped both the plant world and the land on which those plants grow. Throughout human history, plants and gardens have been embraced in the written word, in music, in the visual arts: as beautiful objects in themselves, and as metaphors for the human condition. The symposium speakers are all leading figures in their field. They will use their experience and interests to make us think about plants, gardens or gardening in a new light.

The Independent gardening correspondent, Anna Pavord, in her talk on ‘The Search for Order’ will look at the work that preceded the formal science of botany, the scholars and artists who closely examined nature and gradually unlocked her secrets.

Dr Shelley Saguaro’s (author of  Garden Plots: The Politics and Poetics of Gardens) ‘Poetics of a Paradox’ maintains that gardens signify, but the diversity of the ways in which they do so is not always obvious:  “As a well-known poem by Rudyard Kipling puts it ‘the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye’.  In the poem, Kipling outlined the labour required behind the scenes to maintain the beautiful easeful façade of the upper-middle-class Victorian English Garden in its heyday.  ‘The Glory of the Garden’ was also a monument to the glory of Empire, of Englishness, of religious Anglicanism, of a consensual hierarchy where everyone, at home and abroad, knew their place.   The concept of the ‘Glory of the Garden’ was political, of course, and, in narrative terms, carefully plotted ideologically”, says Dr Saguaro.

In his talk ‘Visual Poetry’ the award-winning garden designer, Andrew Wilson, describes the impact of the whole composition and the association of different plants within that composition. “The designer sees plants as an integral part of the overall picture, set in space along with paving, structures and water to produce a complete composition.  Some see the designer as the enemy of plants but this is not the case – purely the result of a different focus.  The more I design and teach the more I am convinced that contrast lies at the heart of good design, certainly of good planting design, and that light reveals the beauty and poetry of the composition.

Details: Edmund Burke Lecture Theatre, Arts Block,
Trinity College Dublin  2-5pm, Saturday, 15 November 2008.
Booking is essential, tel: 8963174/

About the Speakers:
Dr Matthew Jebb is a Taxonomist and curator of the Herbarium at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. He has broad research interests, including the conservation and recovery of threatened plants in Ireland, and the island flora of the Irish Isles.

Anna Pavord’s books include her bestseller, The Tulip, and her most recent work The Naming of Names. She is Associate Editor of the magazine Gardens Illustrated and works as The Independent newspaper’s gardening correspondent. She is a member of the UK National Trust’s Gardens Panel,  the English Heritage’s Parks and Gardens Panel and she also recently received the Gold Veitch medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Dr Shelley Saguaro is the Head of Humanities and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. Garden Plots: The Politics and Poetics of Gardens, was published by Ashgate Press in 2006. Her current research focuses on the interdependency and co-evolution of species.

Andrew Wilson is an award-winning garden designer, lecturer and writer based in Surrey, England.  He specialises in creating contemporary gardens in London and the South East of the UK.  He also teaches garden design and landscape architecture in a variety of universities and private colleges. He writes a regular column for Gardens Illustrated and contributes to the RHS journal The Garden and The Garden Design Journal.  Andrew is Chief Assessor for the RHS for show gardens.

About the Long Room Hub:
The event is being organised under the auspices of the Trinity Long Room Hub
The mission of the Trinity Long Room Hub is to create an institute of advanced studies with innovative arts and humanities research, nurturing creative minds and feeding back into world-class teaching. It aims to create worldwide humanities research networks; unlock the treasures of the TCD Library and other College collections, and transform the wider world of knowledge through the use of technology.