Artistic licence

From time to time I suffer a degree of frustration when watching films which include shots of gardens or cultivation of some sort. I remember an adaptation of one of E. M. Forster’s novels which included a scene of a cottage with flowering wisteria climbing over the house and tulips and roses in the herbaceous borders. I’m not sure quite what kind of climactic freak would have forced all of these to be flowering at the same time.

In the Martian, Matt Damon cultivates potatoes in order to survive. But images of the potato plants showed thin spindly stems topped by a little  green growth. I don’t know of a potato that grows in such a thin layer of soil and which produces growth like this and crops well!  I’m not convinced that this is possible. OK perhaps I am being a little too literal here and should suspend disbelief for a while – after all it is only a film!


When I visited Giverny some years ago in a wet May, I noticed that the wisteria on the bridge was blooming beautifully. When I took a closer look, I discovered that the blooms were silk!  I queried this with one of the gardeners and he told me that a studio was filming in the garden and this was what they had specified. Film studios spend a great deal of time, money and effort into creating interiors, costumes and the like which are authentic. A whole industry has been built up around ensuring the integrity of films. But when it comes to gardens there seems to be a lapse which takes place. Of interest or knowledge I am not sure. I wonder if there is an opening for a garden consultant somewhere?