Friday, 15 August 2008

Versailles rejected

My new client is no more. We have decided to abandon our attempt to create a garden together, mainly because I shall be going to work on a large garden in Iceland for the forseeable future. And after that I'm taking up cat breeding. Here's how the last (and final) meeting went:

Me: (Handing over a couple of outline proposals) I thought you might like to take a look at these. They're only rough ideas as yet but...

Client: Well I'm glad you dropped that water idea

Me: (Stunned silence)

Client: Anyway, I've been doing a bit of research myself. You know the Mail on Sunday?

Me: I don't actually rea....

Client: Well I really like that Tim Piggot-Smith's garden.

Me: The actor?

Client: Is he? I didn't know that. You read it then?

Me: No, I just...

Client: It's very famous. I'm surprised you don't know about it

Me: I can probably...

Client: I don't want those tin bath things though

Me: Tin...

Client: Baths, no. What I was thinking was, stainless steel would be much better. See if you could do that instead

Me: Instead of what?

Client: Well, tin, obviously. Oh and he had some of these round tree things. I'd like some of those too. They were really nice, very unusual. They were crowd pruned

Me: Crowd pruned...? (Brain finally catching up, breathless and incredulous) Was this garden at Chelsea?

Client: I don't know where he lives

Me: No, I mean the flower show

Client: I'm really excited about this. When can we start?


Northern Shade said...

"Thanks for your design submission, M. Le Notre, but could you do it with less water?"

"Thanks, Mr. Brown, for the landscape plan, but could you get rid of the grass and the ditches?"

"Haven't I read your column in the Daily Mail, Ms. Jekyll? Love the plan, but could we do the flower beds all in white?

Lucy Corrander said...

Do you know the writings of Gervaise Phinn?

He's published wonderfully gentle and affectionate accounts of his work when he was a Schools Inspector and his interactions with children and the staff.

If you have any spare time in Iceland, perhaps you could collect up more of these sorts of conversations?

Do you feel a pseudonym coming on?


P.S. I never liked Versailles anyway.

Catherine Kenny said...

Northern shade, I've taken some very good advice from a fellow blogger who advised 'Drop it and run'!

Hi Lucy. I hadn't heard of Gervaise Phinn but have just visited his website. Unfortunately none of his tour dates this year are in Iceland, but I'll be sure to take some of his books with me to while away the long winter nights. My new client in Iceland, a Mr I. Raknison, wants a garden designed within a security compound. Strangely, he's also asked me to take out several catering sized packs of Brasso.

Lucy Corrander said...

Perhaps he wants you to polish the railings?


emmat said...

on my god oh my god
that's hilarious
v good

My grandma and me once went to paris and she spent ages going on about how she wanted to see the grave of that, you know, Ed Morrison, where all the hippies go. Bless the old dear.

Sylvia (England) said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Catherine. I needed a chuckle on this grey Monday!

Best wishes Sylvia

Catherine Kenny said...

I visited that Ed Morrison's grave in Paris. I think he'd have been much happier if he'd just kept working in the family grocery business, don't you Emmat?

Glad I brightened your day Sylvia :-)

The Garden Monkey said...

Someone I know was in Highgate Cemetary when some hippy space-cadet came up and asked where Jim Morrison's grave was.

They pointed the addled loon towards Karl Marx's grave complete with big bushy bearded statue.

The hippy was astounded - "Man, he really let himself go."

Weeping Sore said...

After reading your conversation with the client, I can see why you're heading to Iceland.

ACS Distance Learning UK said...

In the world of landscaping, this garden has a special place; having been designed and developed initially by Le Notre, the 18th century landscaper who redefined gardening and stimulated a landscape movement that has evolved but not lost momentum right up to the present day. Some would say Le Notre is the father of modern Landscape Gardening.

What then are the gardens at Versaille like?
-Huge (at one stage they covered an area similar to the size of all Paris. They are sill many square km in size
-Broadly symmetrical
-Formal Parterre gardens close to the main buildings
-Woodland gardens filling in areas between paths/roads
-Over the top water features.