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Monday, 27 March 2017

Discover & explore: Lanning Roper

Today's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored the theme of gardening through the life and work of Lanning Roper. The service was led by Sally Muggeridge and featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Jesus Christ the apple tree by Elizabeth Poston, To Daffodils (from Flower Songs) by Benjamin Britten, There is a flower by John Rutter and Little Elegy by Stephen Paulus. At the end of the service we all went to view the memorial inscription for Lanning Roper in the courtyard garden.

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 3 April at 1.10pm when, together with the Choral Scholars, I will explore the theme of art through the life and work of Patrick Heron.

In today's service we heard the following passage by Lanning Roper from On Gardens and Gardening (1969):

"As a landscape consultant, I have advised on gardens in various parts of the world, on soils ranging from rocky slopes, to acid peaty bogs, and rich fertile valleys. Some are large country gardens, others small back gardens in urban areas, and I have also advised on the planting of town squares, as well as on hospital gardens and housing estates.

Rose gardens, mixed borders, formal parterres, paved herb-gardens and shrub and woodland gardens have all absorbed my interest in turn. I have made it a rule to select personally the plants for my designs, and whenever possible I supervise the planting and often do a great deal of it myself. In this way I get to know the problems and the merits of the soil with which I work and keep in touch with new plants.

As a garden designer, I experience some of the same emotions as a nanny. Having made a garden, I always want to follow its development to maturity. If I plant an avenue of oaks or chestnuts, the well-being of each individual tree is my concern, as well as the avenue as a whole. The excitement of creating and planning for the future is both stimulating and very satisfying."

Sally Muggeridge also mentioned Mies van der Rohe's unrealised Mansion House Square project, which would have featured a planting scheme by Roper, and which is currently being explored in Circling the Square, an exhibition at RIBA. Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe designed his proposal for Mansion House Square at the very end of his career, between 1962 and his death in 1969. After a protracted planning process, the scheme was finally rejected in 1985.


OMD - Architecture & Morality.

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