The Best Food, Days Out & Days Away in Brighton, London and the Rest of the World

Friday

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens

"Light is the primary zeitgeber (time teller)" read the description of a temporary light installation that we stood to watch in the pale evening gloom deep in the Sussex countryside. Consisting of twelve hoops, pulsing and swirling, blue lights came to life with a matching soundscape to visually illustrate the circadian rhythm of life.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac



It was our first visit to Wakehurst Botanic Gardens near Haywards Heath, the country cousin of Kew Gardens where we had gone for an after-hours interactive art experience called the Wonder Project.

Wakehurst is probably best known for its amazing collection of billions of seeds that are stored in Kew's millennium seed bank, impressively the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.


Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


Down through woodland and meadows we walked listening to recordings of the Yanomami, an Amazonian people. Known for singing to each other when they meet and use it as a way to pass on messages about their environment. Listening still we began to wind our way upwards via some steep steps following the two mile trail designated for The Wonder Project art and sound installation.

Forest calls echoed out it seemed from all around us via speakers installed among the trees. A description on route explained that Kew scientist William Milliken had spent time researching the Yanomami tribes to gain knowledge of how they used their local flora for medicinal purposes. Kids who were also following the trail showed their appreciation for these unfamiliar sounds by jumping behind trees to mimic the calls, which seemed a fitting response.


Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac



Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac



Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


What next caught my attention was a soundscape inspired by the underground communication network that links trees and fungi to each other. This amazing process has only recently begun to be understood and is called the mycorrhizal network and relates to the process whereby trees and other organisms exchange information and nutrients. It feels like one of those discoveries that makes perfect sense once you know about it and for me illustrates how much we are rediscovering an ancient knowledge that the modern world seems to have lost touch with.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


Dotted around we also noticed little quotes designed perhaps to inspire us to look more mindfully at the world around us. I particularly liked one that read, "like a soft pale dawn on a spring morning with a fragile promise of warmth".

Further along the path we discovered a collection of demi-circles pitched into a grassy slope reflecting back at us distorted images of ourselves. The description invited us to stop and look at ourselves in the natural environment and ask us to question what we do and how we should be contributing to the world around us.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


As we trekked we joined a band of other explorers through Bloomers Valley, up the slopes of the Himalayan Glade and then onto Coronation Meadow where all visitors were asked to stop to enjoy the sun setting. Street food in the form of Mac n Cheese and a glass of bubbly were on hand just as the sky lit up in swathes of purple and pink, it was a beautiful sight.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens, Melt Shack photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens, Bubble Bros photo by modernbricabrac

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


Before we left, as dusk was falling we watched mesmerised the light sculpture of twelve illuminated elements each representing a month of the year, created by Limbic Cinema.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens photo by modernbricabrac


However, the real finale, as if on cue was a full moon rising over treetops, perhaps the most wonderful light installation of them all.

Days Out in Sussex - Wakehurst Botanic Gardens, full moon photo by modernbricabrac

It felt a truly magical way to experience part of this vast site that covers 500 acres. With thanks to Wakehurst Botanic Gardens for our invite to join them for their summer Wonder Project.

Wakehurst has a series of family-friendly events that take place throughout the year, click on the link to check out their events page, Wakehurst events.

Best wishes

Sarah xx


photo 
Sarah Agnew
Blogger, Modern Bric a Brac
    
SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig