About Hortus Ludi

This is our garden, our Hortus ludi, our ‘garden of delights […] a profane interpretation of paradise’ (and sometimes all too earthly woes when we find our efforts consumed by slugs & snails before the plants have even had chance to develop).

But this is also a marginal landscape. “An essentially peopled landscape, the allotment fits unfamiliarly in contemporary cultural expectations, somewhere between the city and the country and yet representing neither contemporary projected landscape. It falls between being a public and a private landscape in the way that few others do.”[1] Crouch and Ward also identify an important distinction between observation and participation, between spectacle and active engagement in the landscape.

The land we pass across has a history of which we are part. Eventually we will leave traces just as the people before us have left something of themselves. Anonymous though they are, still their presence is felt in the way the land has been worked, modified. In turn we will impress ourselves on the site leaving marks, however fleeting. The site echoes a history of shared experience, of common purpose to which we have added, just as others will when we leave this garden; it isn’t ours, doesn’t belong to us, is common ground, and should remain so.

[1] David Crouch and Colin Ward, The Allotment. Its Landscape and Culture. Five Leaves Publication 1997

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