Edgelands of Leeds II
I walk the length of Water Lane in Holbeck several times a week: it’s the nearest place to my studio for a decent espresso. Every so often for a bit of variety and excitement, I liven up the route with a detour onto the small desolate side roads populated by a few solitary parking meters, and adorned with rampant weeds and an eclectic collection of rubble. I don’t know what I’m looking for when I leave the main highway. I’m driven by natural curiosity, but also because I find this scarred light industrial landscape surprisingly compelling and aesthetically interesting.
Payback came in summer 2011 at the intersection of Bath Lane with Holbeck Ginnel: a paradise of massed vibrant colour and floral abundance comprising two extraordinary ‘meadows’ and a variety of ‘borders’. The flowers had emerged from the rubble and concrete and I was in awe at the power of nature to impose such beauty in such unprepossessing circumstances.
One of the meadows had a predominantly yellow-blue theme. The other was a patriotic blaze of blue, red and white. A border tended to red and white. The sheer variety of colour was extraordinary, but on closer inspection you could see that cornflowers were contributing many of the blue hues of delphinium, violet, indigo and sky-blue; poppies accounted for much of the crimson, scarlet, rose and magenta; and asters a lot of yellow. Tucked inbetween the power flowers though are a mass of other smaller plants, all contributing to the textural tapestry which was best observed by walking right up and leaning down to it all.