the Cherry Tree in Christchurch Gardens in January, with no leaves, surrounded by rubbish and a cabbage sitting on the bench

A hint of Spring in Winter

I revisited Christchurch Gardens in Nottingham for the first time in this new decade of 2020.

It is in quite a sorry state. One of the cherry trees has lost a branch in a storm. The litter is piling up including an old mattress at the back of the gardens, which looks like it’s been thrown over the wall from the flats behind. Landed on the gravestones that are piled up against the wall.

The branches of the cherry tree itself is full of tiny buds.

I met with Frank and we decided to start recording the tree from now. We are building a long term relationship with the gardens and Frank is focusing his work here, extending his notion of his studio, and Primary, out to this place opposite.

Frank will start sending videos, watching the tree and waiting for ‘when this tree blossoms‘.

Footsteps will appear in the grass. Animals that are close to extinction will appear amongst the branches of the trees. This year also marks the first time that the Future Machine will witness the blossoms and record the people who meet under the tree talking about the future.

We will start another conversation here about the blossoms in 2020… more to come as we get closer to Spring.

2020 already has been a year of climate change, of landscape change, of emergencies. The fires in Australia are huge and out of control, in places that have never been on fire before. There has been floods in Indonesia, and storms in the States. Already.

The end of 2019 was mild back here in England. In fact a heatwave in comparison to the averages, with a place in Scotland reaching 16 degrees – at night. This January has been mild and wet. It is 12 C in Nottingham today. The average maximum between 1981 and 2010 was 6.6 C. That is 6.6 degrees above average.

I’m praying for snow, if this mild weather continues the blossoms might come early. What if they came before the official start of Spring? Would the blossoms have to replace the Winter visit for the Future Machine? Will winter and spring merge? Where would that leave us all?

The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.

William Shakespeare, , R. A. Foakes (2003). “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, p.74, Cambridge University Press