In July I spent two weeks on the Birr Castle Demesne in
The 120 acres of cultivated land included: walkways, fernery, lakes, wildflower meadow and formal garden to name a few. The gardens are open to the public daily and there is a science centre and an exhibition centre on site. Our access to the gardens through a door in the wall from out Bothy property was a major bonus. Many mornings I could be found roaming the grounds with book and camera in hand. After two weeks I thoroughly documented every aspect I was interested in.
While exploring the garden, I used a viewing framework proposed by McIntosh in Gardens of the Gods – Myth, Magic and Meaning to guide my documentation of various aspects of the property. He contends that if one understands the "parts of speech' of a garden, it is actually possible to read a garden as one would read a text. Obviously, with my background in education and literacy development this whole notion was very intriguing.
I arrived back home with over a thousand photographs and a notebook full of observations and questions. This material is forming the backbone of my current series. I plan to create 16 mixed media paintings on board. At this point 6 are complete and 2 in process.