Monday, June 7, 2010


Check out the interview I had about my Reading a Garden exhibition. I just discovered it was up on the CBC NL website here.


Shayla said...

Margaret, that was fascinating. I feel I know much more about your work now than what I got from reading the blog. It was an excellent interview, and you covered your themes, inspirations and more fluently. I learned a lot and will look at gardens differently now :)

Sherwood Harrington said...

Margaret, this is marvelous.

There are three things that particularly struck me while listening. In no particular order:

1) This is the first time I have heard your voice, but also probably the first time I have listened intently to anyone from Newfoundland. I can hear the Irish influence in speech very, very distinctly in tonality and vowels (except the "u" as pronounced in "about," for example, which is pretty uniquely Canadian.) It is a pleasant sound.

2) Toward the end, your making explicit the parallel between the uniform, small format of your panels with the choreographed, limited perspectives one gets on some of the Demesne's pathways really opened my eyes. Literally, opened my eyes -- I think my eyebrows went up as I heard it. It was as if I suddenly understood a whole, new, important layer of what you were doing. I guess it's a forest vs. trees kind of thing for me; I hadn't seen the forest before.

3) It's amazing how powerfully one's initial impression of a person can shape subsequent feelings. Diane and I first met Lord Rosse in person late in one evening's dusk in a wild part of the estate beside the Camcor near the brick bridge. He was dressed in gardener's clothes, hacking away at a bush with pruning shears, sweating and grumbling about how his left arm didn't work as well as it used to. We had a happy chat there in the gloaming, as neighbors would across a back fence.

So I was puzzled by the derelict truck when I first saw it here in your blog -- I didn't know what it meant before listening to the interview, because I wasn't pre-disposed to see the relative social strata in a way that lent itself to understanding the device.

If you ever return to the Demesne -- and I hope you do! -- there's a fascinating book that you might want to read that will help put enterprises like it in some modern historical perspective: At Arm's Length: Aristocrats in the Republic of Ireland by Anne Chambers. Lord Rosse is quoted extensively in it, and a lot of his observations are a bit startling -- or at least they were to me. He doesn't come across so much as an aristocrat as he does a thoughtful, concerned Irishman. (Bonus: that link to a 2007 blog entry also includes a photo of the bush-whacking Lord Rosse encounter I mentioned above!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for listening Shayla. I'm glad I extended your view of gardens. They are truly fascinating and the more I read on the topic the more fascinating I'm finding them. I think it will awhile before they leave my art work as content.

You always add so much to my posts about the gardens at Birr Castle. I'm glad you got to hear my Irish undertones. They are very pronounced in NL depending on which part of the province your family settled in. Glad to hear I have at least one Canadian vowel.

I will go back to Birr sometime . That is a given. I'm so looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing what you photograph. I would be interested in the reference you provided. The social aspects of the garden I noted are certainly a personal perspective and one that is tied to my own Irish history that extended to how thing worked in NL historically. I come from very humble stock.

I'm at a cafe using wireless. It is about a half hour from my summer house in the town of Bonavista, a town with quite a history dating back to 1497. My emailing over the summer will be very sporadic but I will look for any correspondence from you trip.