Two chairs, always together, always facing slightly towards each other, always two. Always.
Over a decade of taking pictures and this one theme has been constant. I’m not sure where I got the idea from. I don’t know how it started nor why it resonates so deeply with me; it simply is.
I remember I made it the banner image for the very first iteration of this web site, waaaay back when, when I first started blogging, back in the days of the First Garden. It was a pair of dining chairs and the picture was from the inside, but the large patio doors framed the view to the garden beyond.
We would sit there, laugh at the antics of the birds, admire the garden and occasionally argue over how many more plants I could fit into it.
I still have the orchid on the left, it’s currently flowering now too and it remains my favourite one of the ten we’ve acquired over the years.
When we moved to the current garden, I created a new version of this same theme and that became the replacement banner image. I couldn’t have anything else. This time it was two chairs under the ornamental cherry blossom in full flower. Soft petals had rained down, flushing the area with pink. The new garden was in its early days and I had many years of work ahead of me, but this one scene encapsulated the atmosphere, beauty and the potential of the garden more than any other.
The photo blatantly shows the overgrown hedge, the strewn piles of rubbish and the weed-filled neglected borders, but in the middle of all that chaos is the flowering cherry, with the two chairs underneath. The feeling it gives makes all the mess fade into irrelevance. It’s not staged either, we had lunch there and left the chairs out, they gradually accumulated petals. It wouldn’t be the same if I had swept them off. For me, there’s a special magic behind the photo, it encapsulates the very essence of “romance” and the romantic style. It’s so powerful that it dictated what the garden would turn into years down the line and I didn’t even realise it at the time. It was all set in the first few weeks that we moved in, when the ornamental cherry rained its petals on a pair of chairs underneath it.
Now, many years later, the garden is developed and on the cusp of opening, I’ve revamped the web site to showcase it as it is presently and once again, the banner image shows two chairs, together, facing towards each other, on the upper terrace, looking out over a summer garden in full riot mode.
There are several more pictures in the intervening years, each looking out over a garden in various stages of creation. Some in snow, some with the patio in flower, some at the change of the seasons.
No matter what the garden looks like, no matter where it is, there is and will continue to be two chairs, always together, always facing slightly towards each other.