Plants Contained Within Railings

Originally published 16th June 2023

Last updated: 16th January 2024

Friday 16th June 2023, Hove

Iron railings run parallel along the seafront promenade in Hove, painted in peeling layers of turquoise and green paint that are many years thick. During the summer months the railings that line the grassy edge of the lawns are transformed, hosting a bounty of unruly plants.

These railings are more simple in design than those on the southern side of the walkway – less ornate and shapely detail, more utilitarian and prong-like From around May or June, the negative space between the iron spindles reduces, filled by plants that grow rampantly in mad, tangled clumps. It’s a chaotic addition to the otherwise static order of the railings, but each seems to improve the other. The grasses appear softer, more pliable against the unyielding metal. The railings behave like a frame, presenting the plants for admiration. This year there are more poppies than I remember previously, their red petals burning in brilliant contrast to the grass, and some small white flowers I’ve not seen before with a bulbous bell shape to them.

At the end of the season the plants turn leggy and brittle , spent after long, dry weeks of sun. Foliage dies back Stems that once energetically wove themselves among the metal take on a similarly static quality.

Originally published 16th June 2023

Last updated: 16th January 2024

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