Community Ecology Growing Practice Urban

Peter Saville’s CMYK Flower Beds

Peter Saville, the legendary designer best known for his work for Factory records, is our most-esteemed EC1 local luminary. In the past I had the opportunity to briefly meet and work with Peter at his studio on this Colorcalm DVD in 2005. He’s extremely charming and has a particularly inspired working method. At the time I took the opportunity to get a copy of “Closer” signed for my friend Mark Fisher which present I gave to Mark. I think in due course Mark went on to interview him. I see Peter around our neighborhood or down the shops from time to time, sometimes stopping to say hi to him. I don’t think he really knows who I am, which is no problem really. I hardly know who I am myself.

In 2006 it happened that our local St Luke’s Gardens were renovated. Seeing as how he was a local resident, the planners asked Saville to design something for the space. Inspired by the area’s traditional role as a centre of printmaking the idea was for beds with Cyan/Yellow/Magenta/Key (Black) plantings of flowers. Nice concept.

Fast forward eighteen years. As with these things so often the execution hasn’t kept up with the vision.

The first thing is that a slightly unsightly bird feeder has been installed in the middle of the centre “puck”.

I don’t really mind this so much, because I happen to like birds, but it’s a bit of a car crash.

Easier to address is that the planting has gone awry. I can see Magenta, Yellow, and Black here – but the Cyan definitely needed a hand. This would be so simple for Islington council to rectify but quicker to fix myself.

I ordered a small pack of Blue Cornflower seeds from the reliable Tamar Organics (Centauria cyanus should anyone accuse me of messing with the concept). This is a flower that bugs love.

These are the most remarkable seeds I have ever seen, like miniature shaving brushes.

I put a little seed compost down, because these guys wouldn’t survive just dumped into the parched flowerbed, and gave them a generous watering.

Yeah, no worries, you’re welcome.