Back in November 2011, while attending an RHS seminar, I met the Show organisers from Malvern Show and they asked if I would be interested in their new project called “Painting with Plants”.
“Painting with Plants” is new to the Malvern Spring Show. The idea behind it is to provide 10 borders, each measuring two square meters, in which to represent a painting, photograph or local landscape. Each of the 10 borders will be raising the profile of a chosen charity, with three of the borders being awarded a £1000 prize for their charity.
Choosing which painting was slightly more difficult. I looked at paintings by Van Gough, Monet and Cezanne, but none of them were quite right. Then I remembered a painting by Henri Rousseau painted in 1891 called by some “Surprise!” and others “Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)”. Although I loved this painting for the movement and atmosphere, to be absolutely honest I couldn’t quite see how to represent the tiger in plants!
After several days of trawling the internet and scouring the pages of art books in the library I finally decided on another painting by Henri Rousseau, “The Equatorial Jungle”.
Image from From Wikipedia
The plants in Rousseau’s painting seem to be inspired by his visits to the Botanical Gardens in Paris, and while some of them are quite recognisable others are pure fantasy.
So what came next was to think of the best way to recreate the painting with plants that would give that same jungle feel at a show in May.
I want to link the planting with the way Thrive and Perennial help those people who find themselves in difficult situations. So thinking in terms of gardens, most people will struggle to find plants for a shady situation, so that is where I decided to start my search. Most of the plants I am going to use are those that will tolerate theses shady places. I hope to link the painting, the planting and the work the charities do, to achieve a lush leafy border.