August 22nd, 2005


At Little Sparta

Ian Hamilton Finlay's Little Sparta—four acres of labyrinthine grottos, nymph glades, heathery uplands, graeco-scottish lakes, french revolutionary beehives, lush greenhouses, quirky temples, rambling outhouses, all dotted with stone- and wood-carved epigrams from Saint Just and the Latins—is the most gorgeous and remarkable thing I've seen all year. What a joy it was to ramble there quite lost for an hour on Sunday, and even spy the 80 year-old artist himself sitting in his conservatory. And how extraordinary to make your life's work a living work of art which you can inhabit, and share with others: a postmodern, neo-classical, pastoral utopia. Or, simply, a garden.

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