March 22nd, 2011

The Art of Cicatrisation

   So, I've just spent a few days swanning around Montpellier, very pleasant. It's one of those shrinking cities, in the psychological sense; it's a city when you get there, but within hours becomes a town, and even, during your evening stroll, a crowded village.

   The Magnolia shrub takes its name from Pierre Magnol (1638-1715), professor of botany and director of Montpellier's Jardin des Plantes. I was keen to see these gardens, but was advised against doing so as it's not the best time of year to visit. I ignored this advice as there's never a bad time to visit a botanical garden - even if frost or blight or both have reduced everything to a rotten stump there are still the labels, dense with information and mystery, to look at and ponder over;

There were other writings too, glyphs of devotion, etched into bamboo;

   Giant bamboos sexually reproduce just the once and then only after several decades of life (thirteen in the case of Phyllostachys bambusoides) after which they expire. One day, its date known only to the plant, the bamboo of the Montpellier garden will flower and then die “on the promise of the fruit”, its brittle stems scarred with love's testaments.