During his lessons, garden designer and botanist Noel Kingsbury invites his students to lower themselves to a rabbit’s eye view level; by observing plants from the point of view of a small wild animal, one discovers the ‘backstage’ of the garden: where latent gems peep out and creeping stems root, it is possible to understand the ‘how it works’ of plant communities and their lines of development can be guessed in advance.
It’s in this very invitation not to look at the plant exclusively from above – both in the physical and in the ‘looking down at’ sense – that the spirit of the project lies: visitor is able to descend below the surface level and take a furtive look not only at details of stems and leaves, but also at that root system which is, simultaneously, the subconscious of the emerged landscape (in which the ‘public behaviours’ of plants societies originate) and the main actor of a landscape in its own right, rich in unpublished botanical drawings and – as soil ecology teaches us – in occult stories of interaction between fauna and flora.
A flowerbed where different categories of plant (trees, shrubs, perennials, annual plants…) and therefore different root systems (tapping, branched, rhizomatous, bulbous…) intertwine, is sectioned in half by a trench in which, through atypical ‘peepholes’, the curiosity of seeing what lies under the carpet of upper vegetation is satisfied. The evolution of the above will correspond to that of the below: the landscapes framed by the windows will gradually be crossed by new trails depending on whether the conditions favor the widening surface exploration of a young tree’s roots, the dense self-seeding of tap-rooted annual plants, or the solid phalanx-style march of fleshy rhizomes.
DI SCENDERE is the garden whose plants are considered in their entirety: not only for what of them wants to show up, but also for what kryptesthai philei (“loves to hide”); and in which the observer discovers himself as a ‘little animal’ stimulated in the most playful of his instincts: the one to reveal what is hidden.