A fort­night well spent for fa­ther and son

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

PUT this one in the cat­e­gory of quiet plea­sure, en­tirely the wrong speed if you are in roar­ing fes­tive mood, but maybe just right for Box­ing Day evening and be­yond.

It is the tale of two men, gar­den de­signer Bren­dan Moar and his fa­ther, Jim, the for­mer an Ar­mi­dalereared city slicker, the lat­ter a pil­lar of that New Eng­land table­land com­mu­nity, a Ro­tary mem­ber and a sup­porter of its new­est thing, the Sus­tain­able Liv­ing Expo.

Or­gan­is­ers want a cen­tre­piece gar­den for when they stage the expo in the show­ground, so who’s Moar Sr go­ing to call?

‘‘ I came at it from an oblique an­gle be­cause I know he’s a busy man,’’ Jim Moar says.

‘‘ I was wait­ing for the call,’’ his son re­calls with a twin­kle in his eye at the start of the show.

And so be­gin two cre­ations, the gar­den and the show about the gar­den, both star­ring the Moars.

Jim Moar con­fides he thought the most it would run to would be a few squares con­tain­ing dif­fer­ent coloured gran­ites. ‘‘ In­stead we’ve ended up with this turnout up here, which is not what I was talk­ing about at all.’’

There are 14 days to build and plant the cir­cu­lar gar­den and the omens prove tricky when on day one it pours with rain. Cut to Bren­dan Moar, gloomy but philo­soph­i­cal.

Day two, the ground is soggy but man­age­able for the dig­ging equip­ment, so work pro­ceeds, al­beit dur­ing the cam­p­draft­ing club’s reg­u­lar cat­tle round-up, also in the main show ring.

The key is to con­struct frames in the cen­tre from which other el­e­ments will lead to the perime­ter.

They in­clude a dry stone riverbed and pond, stone lions, a veg­etable

‘ I was wait­ing for the call’: Bren­dan Moar in patch, gran­ite boul­ders, a wall and seat, as well as flow­ers.

‘‘ It will not be un­til it goes up that a lot of peo­ple will say, ‘ Ah, OK, I get it’,’’ Bren­dan Moar says. Cer­tainly that is the case with Lee En­gler, owner of New Eng­land Gar­den World, who freely ad­mits he for one doesn’t get it, but lends $ 20,000 worth of spec­tac­u­lar plants any­way.

The pike and twist in this hor­ti­cul­tural high dive is that all ma­te­ri­als must be bor­rowed or do­nated, to fit in with the phi­los­o­phy of sus­tain­abil­ity, a re­quire­ment that sends Bren­dan Moar off to the lo­cal de­pot for rusty pipes, col­lars used to re­pair stormwa­ter drains and curved steel plates from an old plough.

Per­son­nel, all vol­un­teers, in­clude a builder, a welder and a stone­ma­son, as well as gardeners.

‘‘ I hope in some way peo­ple will be able to re­late to it,’’ Bren­dan Moar says on day 14, ex­hibit­ing pre-show nerves. It is never in doubt, of course: a good re­sult, proud fa­ther, happy son.

Jill Row­botham

Bren­dan’s Green Gift

For your post-Christ­mas view­ing plea­sure, ladies and gen­tle­men, Oprah Win­frey. Oh, and Brad Pitt, pic­tured, is on to talk about fa­ther­hood, how much he loves his wife and their 3000 chil­dren and, as this was taped the day af­ter Barack Obama be­came the pres­i­dent-elect of the US ( Novem­ber 5), how hope­ful he is about Amer­ica’s new dawn. Last but not least, Pitt talks about his ex­pe­ri­ences in the new movie

, about a man born an­cient who gets younger in­stead of older and even­tu­ally turns into Pitt. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, who joins Pitt on Oprah’s couch. Nat­u­rally the ra­bid stu­dio au­di­ence has had an ad­vance screen­ing and too many Red Bulls, by the sound of it.

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