20 Feb

There’s a notebook I have somewhere knocking around the house filled with quotes, pictures horticultural or no, and schemes of various kinds, all related to my ideas and experience of my garden. The idea I had in mind when starting the notebook was to create an aid so as always to start from an idea when creating a garden, never from the practicalities. Now, i’ve been applying myself to that task for a very few years and the practicalities have caught up with the ideas. No, not the practicalities, practicalities are staid and boring and everything gardening is commonly assumed to be. Nonetheless, the realities of what is called ‘exotic gardening’ in soggy Cheshire clay have certainly caught up with me. It’s that ludicrous swoop from gilded ideals to recalcitrant mud that I want to note down in this journal. Yes, this is deranged. And no, I do not collect plants or want to recreate Madeira in Manchester. I want to create a place like nowhere else on earth. An incongruous place. A place that overloads one’s senses, like very mild torture. As for the name, the chthonic is that which dwells inside the earth or pertains to the underworld, so The Chthonic Life seems a good and grandiloquent label for my garden subjects and I.


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