Saturday, 17 April 2010
Spring in the City
It's here at last, in bud, leaf and blossom. The skies are blue, wherever the volcanic ash cloud be lingering. Fotherington-Thomas was out and about on his bike last Wednesday, whizzing up to Maida Vale for a BBC Symphony Orchestra afternoon concert - a huge triumph for ten-year-old Lucien, if a little less so for his younger sister Jessica - then to London Bridge for a weekly engagement before wandering around to see what Southwark's been doing with the greening and on to Bengt Forsberg's brilliant, idiosyncratic recital at the Wigmore Hall.
Bengt led me on to a wave of Grainger enthusiasm, of which more in maybe the next entry, but for now I just want to expend a few pics on English city gardens. In the reclaimed zone around City Hall called Potters Fields, once a cemetery, there's been some adventurous planting, and even raised vegetable beds which seem to be respected in the public space.
So you get tantalising views of London Bridge and County Hall through trees
and beyond the herbaceous beds designed, the website tells me, by Piet Oudolf.
They have some growing up to do, but the peony shoots promise much.
Crossing Tooley Street, I was drawn to a magnolia gleaming in the sun. It's between council blocks on a patch of green before the viaduct.
Another pink magnolia in an unlikely place is on an otherwise bald road in Chelsea.
I saw it on my way back from Chelsea Physic Garden, where activity is slow; but the fruit trees begin to blossom
and I'd never seen a pitcher plant in its incipient state - just as creepy as the finished, fly-trapping monster.
Two final Spring blossoms for good measure: one by a posher Chelsea House on the King's Road
and another by the canal at Little Venice
taken on the way back from the Maida Vale concert. Effortless master Jiri Belohlavek continues his run of great concerts - this was certainly one - with the penultimate instalment in his Martinu symphonies series at the Barbican tonight. I'm talking on the Third, as well as a bit about Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements and Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto, at 6pm in the big hall, so do come along and say hello.