There are a number of interesting exhibitions to choose from this month, as well as many summer flower events both wild and cultivated, proving once again that plants are an endless source of inspiration. Here are our top plant inspired picks for July.
1. Silent Exchange by Charlie Waite at the The National Theatre, London
Landscape photography (like all photography) when done well evokes an emotional response. When done really well it can feel rather overwhelming. With natural beauty it is often the case that the latter happens when the landscape is familiar or known to the viewer as the power of connection to place can be so strong. Charlie Waite has an exhibition running at the National Gallery that includes over 50 images showcasing his own ‘personal response to beauty’ and many of these have the potential to impact as described. Examples below.
2. RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 8-13 July
Another of the RHS flower extravaganzas this month, this time at Hampton Court. We are very lucky in the UK to have so many well organised horticultural delights, thanks in part to our long gardening tradition and history. While people seem to be less and less interested in knowing and loving wild plants, horticulture always remains popular. A designated highlight of this year’s show that we are intrigued by is ‘Inspiring Sculptures’, which has turf constructions created by a variety of designers including the head gardener at Tottenham Hotspur football club. Tickets are £30 each.
3. Macoto Murayama on Botech Compositions, Japan Centre. London 10 July
Macoto Murayama is a digital botanical artist who dissects flowers before rendering them accurately on his computer using 3D software. It is interesting to see how traditional botanical art – either drawn or painted – is being stretched by photographers and digital artists. In this talk Murayama discusses the technological aspects of his work and in conversation with others looks at the ancient tradition of flower illustration. It is free but booking is required. Plant Curator will be in attendance.
4. Osterley House & Gardens – In bloom now!
Ok you can forget the house and grounds (a.k.a Georgian country estate), forget the stunning riverside location with majestic cedars and willows hanging, forget that it is practically in central london (a different world!) – for now, head for the gardens. This National Trust property has a walled garden plus another garden next to that (Mrs Child’s flower garden) and is currently in bloom and is amazing. Allegedly it’s run by a task force of volunteers – we applaud them. The herbaceous borders are so interesting with giant fennel and huge thistley, asteraceae type plants intermixed with many other tall flowering species. It’s an architectural plant delight. Outside the walled garden is an area of flower beds but these too have been planted like borders – with great height and form. Really marvelous. Go visit now before they all keel over.
5. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Colorado, USA 7-13 July
We all have private fantasies and visiting this wildflower festival is one of Plant Curator’s all time favourites. Any visitor to Colorado and the nearby rockies will tell you, the wildflowers are not to be missed. Add that to an organised event that offers a bloom locator and identification guides, plus photographic workshops, tours, walks and art classes all celebrating wildflowers, and you have something special. Unfortunately it will be too late for the incredible Mariposa Lily but you may see blue and fringed gentians. Will save for next year.