As I’ve been investigating plant properties of late, and as I am something of a bibliophile, I’ve been nosing about all sorts of source material in my research.
From botanical journals to old wives’ lore, and those periodicals of note in between where plant and myth meet – the carry-on between thinking and planting is complex, and hearty.
The gardener might naturally take particular interest in any writings on nature, plants and the garden itself, but there’s always a new context to consider and steal from. Have you heard of a shadow garden, for example? A midnight garden? A physic garden in the front, with a hawthorn portal into various alternative dimensions in the back..? I mean, the design potential is inexhaustible…
I came across a concept recently, which I’ve doubtless read a hundred times before, but for some reason (probably my parallel literary research) it’s got my creative juices flowing.
This was the idea of something called The Hallow.
‘The Hallow is an old concept that retains the idea of an ancient center of equilibrium. It is unchanged by anything that has ever had contact with it […] No theology, religion or spiritual system has ever influenced its existence.
‘The Hallow stands between the material reality and non-material reality. It is neither, and it makes it possible for both dimensions to interact without collapsing either one.’
Well, colour me intrigued.
Ideas and concepts about in-betweenness – the liminal, the uncanny, the unnamable, the abject and obscure – have always been a personal fascination of mine (my favourite art is that which either manages to, or at least tries to, express the inarticulate). But the idea of this as a place is just thrilling. Especially as a place you can access! Not so much go to, perhaps, but draw from. What a sensation!
And it makes perfect sense.
Have you ever found yourself lost in a wild place? That sensation of being very much somewhere – surrounded by the natural, the real, the solid, the temporal – yet the creeping fear comes from a sensation of exactly the opposite?
Never judge a book by its cover! If you’re into plants, you might as well go really into plants. Good luck with it!
(As an aside, if you’re interested in gardens you can truly get lost in, I’ll be posting something about a genuinely terrifying garden at the weekend if I get round to it!)