Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts encompassing public gardens, secret gardens, magical gardens, and paradise gardens. Including music by Mozart & Tchaikovsky.
Jane Eyre is hiding in one, Peter Rabbit is escaping from one, John Tradescant is tending one, and Rebecca de Winter's has been completely taken over by nature. Whether a place to relax, play, be seen or to hide, the garden serves many purposes in literature, as in life. Sally Phillips and Bertie Carvel read poems and texts encompassing public gardens, secret gardens, magical gardens, and paradise gardens. Including music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Gubaidulina and Takemitsu.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Genesis from The Bible (King James Version), read by Sally Phillips
A Vision of the Garden, read by Bertie Carvel
Through the Looking Glass, read by Sally Phillips
Down by the Salley Gardens, read by Bertie Carvel
Her Garden, read by Sally Phillips
Earthly Joys, read by Bertie Carvel
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Beloved, thou has brought me many flowers, read by Sally Phillips
Sir John Hawkins
A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, read by Bertie Carvel
Nicholas Nickleby, read by Sally Phillips
Le Jardin des Tuileries, read by Bertie Carvel
Daphne Du Maurier
Rebecca, read by Sally Phillips
Peter Rabbit, read by Bertie Carvel
Jane Eyre, read by Sally Phillips
Their Lonely Betters, read by Bertie Carvel
Edwin Arlington Robinson
The Garden, read by Sally Phillips
Day of the Triffids, read by Bertie Carvel
The Gardeners Daughter, read by Sally Phillips
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden, read by Bertie Carvel
I was struck when making this programme how varied the literary gardens I chose were, and what different purposes they serve. Sometimes they are a haven, away from the hurly-burly of the outside world. Elizabeth Jennings describes building a garden within high walls, the only place an ill woman can escape intrusion, and similarly Tennyson’s poetic garden is enhanced by the distant sound of church bells. Sometimes the gardens are enchanted; Alice is in discussion with the flowers in Through the Looking Glass, and enchanted gardens have inspired music from contemporary composers Takemitsu, and Uljas Pulkkis. Sometimes gardens are a backdrop for plotting and scheming; In Philippa Gregory’s Earthly Joys, spy-master Robert Cecil uses the garden as a place to quiz his gardener John Tradescant, who’s always too busy tending his plants to lie. More intrigue in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, where the gardens are full of characters hiding, and in disguise. Jane Eyre is hiding too, after detecting the tell-tale smell of Mr Rochester’s cigar in amongst the garden’s evening scents.
There are public gardens such as Spring Gardens in Vauxhall, the place to be seen in the mid 18th century, boasting summer concerts and a fine statue of Handel. Oscar Wilde describes Paris’s equivalent, the Jardin des Tuileries, a painting of which is included in Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition. Then to some less welcoming gardens. The famous opening of du Maurier’s Rebecca describes visiting Manderley in a dream to find that the garden ‘had obeyed the jungle law’. But this is nothing compared to the havoc that the plants in Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids will cause. And poor Peter Rabbit is desperately trying to escape Mr McGregor’s garden, hindered by his large buttons and a gooseberry net. I finish with one of the most evocative gardens, as Mary Lennox finally manages to get into The Secret Garden.
Ellie Mant - Producer""Added, go to My Music