I first came across vertical gardens in Paris where the whole side of a building seemed to be ‘planted’. This example is on the wall of the Rhubarb building in the Custard Factory complex in Birmingham.
It is certainly a creative idea, although a physical challenge to grow plants in the vertical plane. It attracts the attention because it is unusual and, indeed, un-natural.
I reflect on the creativity and the challenging of natural laws. Certainly the ingenuity of humankind has enabled us to overcome what are natural boundaries – space travel, sub-aqua, in vitro fertilization, to name only a few.
Growing plants vertically is not controversial, only fascinating, but the challenging of the natural order in other ways is seen by some as a direct challenge to the authority of the Creator.
As an artist I would wish to affirm that to be creative is to fulfil our human potential. We draw close to the One in whose image we are made. But there are surely limits, for while we are creative, we are not the Creator. There are also those who have created works that are destructive – maybe commenting on a negative aspect of human experience, but not necessarily contributing positively to life.
The garden is vertical, it is colourful and our fascination is enriching, but reflection on human and divine creativity needs to be a constant activity.