Even In His Youth

IMG_0556Many keen gardeners consider their patch of green, however small, however unruly, to be a kind of rolling work of art.   I see mine as a collage, ever-changing, patched together.

Under the name The Gingerbread Tree, my brother Philip Davenport and I have collaborated over the years on art and music.  Recently, we’ve been delving into our back catalogue, making choices about what to do with all that we’ve amassed.

One project is collages which Phil and I have been working on for at IMG_0506least twenty-five years.  Inside our book The Practical Senior Educator, collages are layered from a variety of materials:  medical notes, letters from friends and record companies, adverts ripped out of glossy 80’s magazines, wedding invitations; all assembled then dismantled by Philip and myself.  It’s not just art, it’s a pasted testament to the microscopic fragments of our lives.  It’s a comment on history  with torn-up photos dripped in candle wax, pictures of rock stars and half-burnt promotions from yesteryear cramming the pages.  It’s a project that never stops. We’re still altering its content now, we probably always will.

IMG_0520The Practical Senior Educator will be in an exhibition this month called Understanding The Ritual at The Storey in Lancaster.  Curated by innovative artist Pete Flowers, The Gingerbread Tree will appear alongside the iconic Gaye Black (formally Gaye Advert of punk band The Adverts) and, renowned poet Jerry Rothenberg.  Other select artists include: Adam Gregory & Gillian Jane Lees, Darren Andrews, Geoff Parr, Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, Sally Slade Payne, Sue Flowers and Sumit Sarkar.

For Phil and I, finding ways and places to show the content of this unique book is the start of another journey.

Collages: “Girl Column” (circa 1990), “Bad Flowers for Baudelaire” (right) (circa 1989), “The Pond in April” (2000)

THE PRACTICAL SENIOR EDUCATOR, by The Gingerbread Tree (circa 1990)




Every day there is something new to see in the garden; more flowersIMG_2714 opening, the trees bushing up, heavy with blossom.  I am not familiar with the names of everything, particularly the flowers and shrubs I didn’t plant myself.  There is no end to learning when it comes to gardening.  I make mistakes all the time; the clematis I didn’t think would make it through Winter is now dripping in blooms.  The three spiky Cordyline australis I planted in the patio beds, looked straggly following the colder months.  Maybe I should have protected them from the frost after all.  But now I’ve shifted them into the cottage garden border and they give a definition that was lacking here before.  That’s the great thing with gardening, its like working on a piece of art that is never finished, that can always be improved upon.

Sunshine On A Rainy Day

I planted 60 Tete-a-Tete bulbs in the front garden during the IMG_2680autumn and many of them flowered.  They are coming to the end of their time now but, even on days it’s been wet and windy, when I step outside and see these little flowers they give me a metaphoric lift!