I have a new routine before I start the hard labour of gardening; a nice half hour or so of delaying tactics, wandering round, cup of tea in hand, counting ducklings (four, nearly full grown) and cygnets (still seven a month after hatching) and then, oh go on, just another few minutes to check the bamboo sculpture (lots and lots of pieces) in the woods.

We are very chuffed to have our very own sculpture among the beech trees. It has been there for more than three months now and never fails to surprise, constantly changing with the season, the light and the time of day.


Susie installed Natural Progression at Pond Cottage way back in February and I have been planning to write about it ever since. But today is pretty good timing because it is exactly a year since Susie drove 600 pieces of black bamboo into the ground at the Botanics.


Flashback to June 2008, surely the wettest coldest summer on record. Despite rain, wind, and dance, Natural Progression held steady on the lawn near the Chinese hillside where it provided a setting for Wind and Bamboo, the great midsummer happening created by Kimho Ip and a multicultural, multimedia, multi-talented cast of many

np_am_4_galleryAnne-Marie dancing in midsummer rain

After being on display for a month, Natural Progression was offered for sale at the Friends plant auction – but apparently no-one had room for so many pieces of bamboo.  Ray and I happily offered them a home.

Then we couldn’t decide where it should go. Nature rules the roost at Pond Cottage and I didn’t want the sculpture to disappear beneath docks and thistles. Susie thought that might look quite interesting but in the end she chose the meandering line through the beech wood where the roe deer have made a path on their way to eat our newly planted trees.

firststepsSusie and Ziggy mapping out Natural Progression (watch out, something lurking behind a tree). And Ziggy with a bad cough too.

It works beautifully.  Each season is a new setting and Natural Progression  seems to belong in them all;  as much at home among the daffs as  when it is almost swamped by bluebells and wild garlic.


I now have stacks of pictures of the bamboo through three seasons in all lights.  I am amazed to see how colours change: from February’s brown to the bright green of June.  If I was an artist I would make a huge collage of postage stamp pictures tracking Natural Progression through the beech wood year.  Maybe I need to talk nicely to Susie. Or Tommy.




Winter, Spring and Summer.