Ecologies of a hedge part 2

Work on the hedges continues and I’m enjoying finding locations that offer the intersections I’m after. As with all things on this blog it’s slow going but here’s s a rough edit of this year’s efforts.


Ecologies of the hedge

Using Joseph Dodds to guide me through Deleuzoguattarian ecopsycology I’ve been playing around with the idea of hedges as a meshwork, the mix of many ecologies, processes, knowledges and disciplines converging, thriving, neither nature or human. A work in progress more photosketching than a solid approach.

The Hedge

Initially the remainder from land clearance for cultivation, the space in between that became boundary, defence, protector of crops, animal enclosures and lines of ownership. They now mask the cultivated environment from the roads we travel on. We have made a representation of nature, the myth that all is well with the environment, and in this denial, this space between the roads of civilisation and the fields of cultivation we are blind. We can no longer read nature, no longer tuned in therefore alien to ourselves.

Meanwhile, the hedge has been busy in our blind spot.

Plant Invasion of the Soil Sensors

The primary invaders of the soil sensors are established, some are coming into flower so they’re feeling right at home. I’ve had many surprises as this project has unfolded, I wasn’t expecting the surrounding flora to feature quite so heavily in the outcomes, for example the Sticky Weed (Cleavers/Galium aparine), Bramble (Wild Black Berry/Rubus fruticosus) and Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) are quite aggressive invaders, all leaning into view or casting a shadow from off stage. I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting this, it’s obvious really when you think about it, but I was preoccupied with seeds blowing in from above rather than suckers, tubers, climbers and ramblers creeping in from below.

Sensors 4 and 5 are under large trees so fallen twigs and leaves feature quite heavily, there’s not much light so only the bramble has made a start.

Sensor no.2 is a particularly good example of the plant invasion. It’s surrounded by allotments which is probably why there are so many common weeds.

Soil Sensor work in progress

Work in progress, grid of 12 tiles for soil sensor 2015
Work in progress, grid of 12 tiles for soil sensor 2015

So here we are, a grid of 12 just to see how it’s shaping up as an idea and what the end result might look like. I suppose it makes more sense to wait until it’s finished before publishing but I’m quite excited and impatient. Had some initial problems with very hardy seeds that came with the soil but they’re weeded out and hopefully that should be it. It’s interesting to see how the soil has leveled out, broken down and weathered into a much finer till. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that children, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and bunch other things are going to be collaborators on this project. I have also noticed some rather tough perennials breaking through the matting and showing an appearance. It’s going to be an interesting and unpredictable few months.

Call for Musicians

The Apple Tree Orchestra has been invited to the Cultivation Field Exhibition at Reading University in June this year. Very very exciting but I now need an ensemble to interpret and perform the score.

Preferably 5-10 musicians, strings, woodwind and flute. Three rehearsals should do it and then a recorded performance in a very old walled orchard. There might be some more performances later in the year but they’re not confirmed yet.

So any local musicians interested in a collaborative interpretation of music written by trees then you know where to come.

And for everyone else watch this space for the recorded performance.

Tail end of hurricane Katia brings down the apples

It’s been a very quiet three weeks, the apples are sticking to the trees and getting very fat. Great for future crumbles and cider, rubbish for the orchestra. Thankfully the remnants of Katia managed to whip up some 50mph gusts for a very busy weekend and here we are, two abrasive chords with a harmonious finish.

So after fears of all the apples ripening in August and off the trees by September I still have at least another 40 on the trees. Roll on the next storm.