2003 METROPOLIS for the ‘Westonbirt international festival of gardens’, organised by Forestry Commission. England, UK
The garden is a collection of plants coming from every continent contained in randomly placed wood and metal boxes, varying in height and stature that together resemble an urban skyline.
A stock of plants unloaded from an unlikely trip around the globe. The plants wait for their final destination.
Being ‘caged’ does not hinder them to send out messages, be it smell, colour, pollen, seeds.
The visitor is invited to wander between the cases, to experience these messages. Every case has its own label, specifying the name and origin of the plants. A personal geography is created following one’s own curiosity. The natural process of biological exchange is accelerated, man functions as a catalyst.
At first glance the garden might look as if not conceived for a specific site. Its itinerant nature is only apparent, looking at the history of the site one comprehends that it is closely linked to the Westonbirt Arboretum, where, from 1829, the Holford family has been collecting tree specimens and sending plant hunters to all corners of the world.
Metropolis, the 'city of plants', shows that plants of different continents assembled randomly can grow together and build a new community, a new ecology of living beings adapting to new environments, the garden becomes a metaphor of human settlements.