Recently, we’ve been discussing how to restore the château’s terrace and the gardens around it. For all its formal geometry, the house has long ago stopped imposing its tight order on the nature that surrounds it. Ivy and other climbing vines have taken hold of the old masonry walls and blackberries are running amok on the terrace floor. One could argue that the house has organically embraced the wabi-sabi art of imperfect beauty and that we can just let nature run its course. But I know better. The serenity of a wabi-sabi garden is due to hours of careful planning and hard labour. And there’s the damage ivy and friends can do to our property. Their roots trap moisture, cause wood to rot and old mortar to soften.
As we make plans to save the old masonry and try to regain a modicum of control over the plant situation, I enjoy all the wild greenery and its magical and malicious beauty. This led me to do a photo shoot of balls on the terrace the other day. Balls? Actually, they’re old fishing floats that were once used in Dutch herring fishery. No idea why I bought them for the château, I just liked the way they looked. Round shapes are so much more attractive than other shapes. Guess I have an affinity for curves, which is just as well in view of how hard it is not to succumb to the culinary temptations of French life. The cheese! The wine! Magical malice is everywhere.