Friday, 24 December 2010

The Stuff That All Sound Art Installations Should Be Made Of !!!.

 Here be a couple of Video's of a our very robust and workable Sound Installation which is sited at Trentham Gardens Staffordshire. During this time it as being snowing for a week, with average temperatures of Minus -10 !!.

If only all public art was made like this !!.

We have now powered down the Sound Wall until the new year for software updates and sensor development. This next vid is the sound wall  shutting off to the setting sun. At the time of recording this moment was quite special ".

We are designing and building more public art sound  installations and music therapy gardens for special needs schools in the new year and working on a new MonkeyTrial Album.
Check out Sensory Trail Design and August Garden Designs for more details
Have a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

First proper frost

Thought I would post some pics of the first frost of Oct 2010 taken in the Piet Oudolf  scheme 
"The Floral Labyrinth" at Trentham Gardens.

The planting structure is maintained throughout Winter, until we cut down to ground level in late January.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The secret life of the Trentham Sound Wall

The Trentham sound wall as now been alive for 4 Months during which we have had a few ups and downs during its existence, mainly due to the torrential down pours of our english summer.

The main hiccups have been due to soggy sensors which have since been rectified and several interesting developments have occurred since.

Whilst during one of my a routine visits to the wall, the wall was happily singing away to itself but not in the usually manner of which I have grown accustomed to. I was intrigued to find out what this new development was caused by and to my amazement I noted that one of the laser harp sensors being triggered by rain droplets falling from the roof of the alcove through the laser beam and triggering Pangaea, the effect was quite pleasing in a rhythmic sort of way. A few weeks later in the rain again one of the movement proximity sensors was triggering it self via a pool of water that had gathered underneath. Not so pleasing but easily rectified by creating a drainage hole in the appropriate place. Each of these events as given me a insight of other possibility's and applications of the installation using natural elements which I intend to use in future developments.

New turf and a lick of paint has given the sound garden a new lease of life since the onslaught of summer and bank holiday crowds, which did have us worried if the software and sensors would stand up to the punishment and they did, so one point to us.

Next trial is freezing temperatures. We had -3 last night and so far so good in fact another pleasing natural occurrence of ice triggering one of the touch sensors which once thawed ceased. Talk about natural intervention.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


MonkeyTrial (me + Shaun) travelled down to, that there Brum last night to attended a live adaptation of the classic Eno ambient album "Apollo" which was a part of the Sounds of Space weekend at the wonderful  Birmingham Town Hall. This little excursion also gave us the chance to meet up with Alan Gardener who was also attending the concert, to discuss a possible collaboration with Alan and a MonkeyTrial sound installation. "Watch this space"

Shaun and I enjoyed the performance but we both agreed that there was something missing and we hit on it on the way home. The performance even thou excellent lacked the spaciness or ethereal feel of the studio produced album. I feel to produce a live version of such a seminal album is near on impossible but the performers IceBreaker and B. J Cole did a excellent job and gets a big thumbs up from this Eno fanatic. 

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Sunny Day At Last

The only day this month (August)  I have had the chance to take stock of the garden before it passed me by.   In particular the Piet Oudolf "Floral Labyrinth" is looking splendid at the mo with the "Rivers of Grass" getting fluffier by the day

Rivers Of Grass
Rivers Of Grass

Floral Labyrinth
I spend most of my working day in this garden and each day brings a new perspective and a chance to re acquaint myself with a certain planting combination that is coming to life on that day, this brings a smile on a busy day and makes me stop for a moment and makes me realize what a joy to be part of and a custodian of such a stunning garden
Floral Labyrinth

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sound Garden Rebirth

Myself and the Garden Team at Trentham Gardens with the help of Bowland Paving are in the process of rebuilding the award winning Tatton Park Flower Show Garden " A Sound Garden" within the newly developed show garden area at Trentham Gardens in Straffordshire.
The garden is being redeveloped to stand the test of time and the foot fall of many visitors. But in essence it is still the same garden that was at the Tatton Show three weeks ago with the same planting and sounds.
We are hoping that the garden will be interactive this weekend if the weather will give me the chance to wire up the sensors etc in between the persistent showers.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Finished Show Garden

The judges have decreed that the garden is a silver medal award winning garden I have recieved a mixed bag of reviews from friends and family ranging from congratulations to that's **** criminal !!!.

I knew during the last days of build that it would be a Silver, you get a feel for these things on your eighth show garden, but also because we just run out of time to attended to the finishing touches that could have made a difference to the medal awarded.

The whole experience was worth it for me from the reaction of a young blind girl I was showing around the sound wall in the garden to experience the sound that could be created from the interactive sensors. Her cry of laughter over the top of the sounds she was creating more than made for any amount of awards that a any Judge could have awarded the garden.

Any hoo. here be some pics of the finshed garden.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Build of a show garden 2 days to go

Just a quick update, while I am thinking straight. Earlier in the week we were 1 day behind on the build  today  and yesterday we managed to catch up through shear hard work, so a big thanks to the Trentham team,  Bowland Paving and my brother Dave for all of their hard work during the last two days.

Planting started on Fri and will be finished tomorrow, I have manged to stick to my planting plan almost but with a bit of creative license. Most of the flower buds are still tight shut so not the full showing of flower colour I hoped for but  still looking good.

The slat fencing to the rear of the garden is quite labour intensive but well worth it, that will be finished tomorrow then Chris will be carrying on with the bespoke curved bench seats which are set on the deck.

We are not able to fire up the sound yet due to the power not been available on site but I have being assured  of a 2 hour power window slot on Sunday which will give us chance to do our stuff. All of the sensors have being wired up and set into the wall we are just hoping that we wired them up correctly !!.

The garden will be assessed on Monday at 1pm I will have to do a 3 min presentation to the assessors on the merits of the garden and any last minute changes I have done within the brief. Press day is Tuesday the garden will have to be totally finished 8am that day in time for the judges to do their thing, Gulp !!!.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Build of a Show Garden day eight

Since my last post the sound wall as been built-rendered-painted and over the weekend the chippy's have been building the hard wood decking. All this done to perfection and over  four days what a happy designer I am. All the lads from Bespoke Construction have done a great job and have never stopped over those four days.
The build is now in its last and second week and I have had my first nightmare worrying about decking heights and fence heights ???. Well it seemed serious to me at the time cold sweats and all that, god knows what state I shall be in by the end of this week.

 Over the weekend Shaun and I did a dummy round sensors set up and configuration. We flagged up a problem with the optical sensors which we have never used before, it seems the ambient light is to much for the wee blighters and they will need to be set into some sort of cowling to protect the little loves from to much sunlight. So before final set up this weekend I have got to manufacture said cowling out of thin air and who send gardening was`nt technical !!.
When we fired up the sound through the Bose speakers what a sweet sound it was and also generated quite a bit of interest from all around. 
A taster of whats to come.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The build of a show garden day 3

Start of build was on Monday 5th July. I turned up at 7.30, mad keen to get started only to find that we were not allowed on the show ground until 8am when was that ruled introduced ??, must read my site rule book. Back to the car to make some last minute to do notes. Finally 8am arrives I find my plot introduce myself and get down to marking out. My build team arrive shortly after and slowly, the rest of the build teams for the other show gardens start to make measurements and check levels on their own plots. I  meet old faces and chew the fat a bit on the coming weeks of build and show gossip.

During the next few days, we need to build the sound wall and cut out the channels for the sensor wires, then render the wall wait for the render to dry, then give it a lick of paint and start to make the bespoke fencing for the rear of the garden. All this before Saturday to keep within the build programme.

The wall was up by this morning and rendering started in earnest with the forecast of rain in the afternoon fingers crossed its not to heavy.

I managed to source a set of Bose freespace speakers which do sound sweet and then spent most of this evening trying to get my laptop to talk to the sensors editor software, at this stage I am pulling my hair out hence a break to write this update. I shall make more posts later hopefully a bit more exciting.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Sound Wall Mrk2 awaits return of Tatton Garden

Well !!. Here it is, in all its glory after 6 days of head scratching and hard graft. Sound Wall Mrk 2, in situ at Trentham Gardens awaiting the return of the rest of the show garden after the RHS Tatton Park Flower show 2010 show .

The original idea was to have only 10 slots or holes but the decision was to add more because the wall just looked empty with just the 10, so we are now up to 14.

I must admit thou, I have only just enough sensors and wiring for up to 14. I will after order more from Canada. So 14 it is then.

Shaun and I worked on the sensor configuration this afternoon and after lots of deliberation decided on more light and laser sensors for the more percusive sounds like dulcimers and bells. Pressure pads will be providing bass and pad sounds and rotating switches will provide a certain amount of control on synthesis and effects.The sounds created will also chop and change to keep you on your toes and there will also be lots of what we call "side chains" which are Pangaea's way of saying I'm bored of just doing this sound I want to produce another and play about with it a bit, which will make one or two people take note, that this is no ordinary sound installation.

Pangaea developed by Shaun Bailey (The other half of MonkeyTrial), is the software responsible for producing the evolving sounds and creating an almost living breathing sound engine, which to some extent can be quite unpredictable which is the exciting part. We just don't know what Pangaea will produce to a certain extent, which will make this Show Garden a first at the show.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The birth of a sound wall

Now !. I know this might not be the usual piccys of wonderful lush planting that you are all used to, but this gallery of brick upon brick and brickies is the beginnings of my sound wall and I`mm excited by it.

These are pics of the sound wall being built in the show garden area at Trentham Gardens. This sound wall is affectionately known as "If there is any problems in the construction, then this trial wall, will pick them up" wall. The second almost perfect wall be consructed at the show ground RHS in approx one weeks time.

So far so good I shall post more updates by the end of the week.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

RHS Tatton Flower Show 2010 Show Garden.

With only two weeks to go before the start of build on “A Sound Garden By The Trentham Estate” a  show garden which I am building at The RHS Tatton Flower Show 2010. The panic has not quite set in yet but there are signs. Such as waking at 4 am  my head spinning with all the things that could go wrong !!. You would have thought, that on this my eighth show garden design at Tatton that it would be a breeze, but no, I still get the moments during the day`s leading up to the show when absolute dread creeps into my thoughts.

The major buzz of the build and the oohs and ahhs off the show visitors make up for this immensely, afterwards. Speaking of the build, work starts on the 5th July and two weeks later Voila !!, a show garden. I Wish !!. A lot of work goes into these gardens and a lot of heart and soul to. I intend to take you through the various steps of the build and the lead up to and during the build including all of the nitty gritty problems so you can all share my pain !!.

What garden ?, what he on about I hear you say. Well, for all you late comers. The show garden in question is a sound installation which can actually be used for a variety of things such as for example, a music therapy garden, an idea which as being buzzing around in my head for a while now. Shaun bailey the other half of MonkeyTrail as created a self evolving PC based “Sound Engine” which you could almost say, as a life of its own. Let me explain with blurb.

The intended use for the garden would be as a place to provide therapy on a one to one basis using sight and sound as part of an educational aid, for use by bodies such as educational and music therapy organizations.

The garden contains electronic sensors which detect movement/heat etc and immediately trigger a PC-based sound ‘engine’ which produces evolving sound/music. Sound is directly influenced and indeed created by the garden occupants.

The main structure of the garden is a curved (A Musical Wall) which has rectangle cut-outs set into it. The cut-outs house sensors which respond to movement. The wall is a interactive structure where in, by entering a hand into the cut-outs, sensors are activated and dependent on the information collected by the sensor such as speed of hand and other parameters, music/sound is generated by an evolving PC based sound “engine” .

There it is then all that will be my life for the next 6/8 weeks including the break down and subsequent re-build at Trentham gardens afterwards. I Love It !!!!.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Rivers of Grass at Trentham Gardens.

Got a chance during one of the busiest weeks in the gardens so far this year, to get more shots of a good display of early summer flowering at the Rivers of Grass.

 The Grasses are Molinia caerula heidebraut  and 
 Molinia caerula edith dudszus.

The Modern Sculpture is a current exhibition called

 Carbon Rapture based on three forms of the
element carbon: •diamond  •buckminsterfullerene  •graphite

Friday, 28 May 2010

This is Staffordshire Magazine Article

This is my latest article in the "This is Staffordshire Magazine" about the Trentham Garden Festivals and the building of my RHS Tatton Show Garden to be rebuilt at The Trentham Estate

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Spring in the Rivers of Grass

This is one of many shots of the "Rivers of Grass", at Trentham Gardens that I would like to share with you good folks.
In this picture the the yellow flowers (Trollius europaeus) have been in flower now for several weeks. The Iris Sibirica (blue) just started to open over this weekend and by the end of the week should be in full bloom.
The white umbelliferous flower is Chaerophyllum hirsutum 'roseum' and finally in the distance Persicaria bistorta 'Superba'
This wonderful show is expected to get better in the coming days and I expect to take a few more shots if I can find the time out from the weeding. Picture By Clive Mollart

Friday, 14 May 2010

New show garden @ Trentham Gardens

A new show garden was recently completed at the 100 ideas show garden area at Trentham GardensPICT0024 . The garden developed by Paul Legeckis garden Supervisor and built by the Trentham Garden Team, started life as an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden in 2009, the plants were kindly donated by the Horticulturalist, Garden Designer and part owner of Barakura English Garden, Kay Yamada. The Garden “Echoes of Japan in an English Garden” was awarded a Bronze Medal.

The garden at Trentham is larger than the Chelsea garden and features a bespoke bridge built by Paul and a stream fed by water from the pond. The Garden is the first of many show gardens to be built and rebuilt at Trentham, including my own “Trentham Sound Garden” which will be rebuilt in the 100 ideas area after the Tatton Flower Show


Thursday, 6 May 2010

MonkeyTrial Album

MonkeyTrial released their second album "un" in march on the label

Its a album that myself and Shaun are particularly proud of, we seem, to have come of age musically, on this album and we are feverishly working on material for the next album to be released soon.

The album is also available on Band Camp, Amazon and iTunes.

Also check out the band site on MySpace MonkeyTrial

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Who am I ??.

Just a quick up date on the world of Clive Mollart.

First and foremost I am a award winning garden designer. August Garden Designs Ltd is my practice which has been in existence for over ten years. Before AGD I have held varying roles within the horticultural industry over a period of 25 years.

Two years ago I was offered the opportunity to work and oversee the Piet Ouldof scheme at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire as the Garden Supervisor for the Rivers of Grass and Floral Labyrinth. This as given me the chance to meet and work with Piet and one his largest planting scheme`s to date.

MonkeyTrial is an ambient/electronic project artist consisting of myself and my very good friend Shaun Bailey. MonkeyTrial has just recently signed to the Label and the album 'un' was subsequently released in March. I shall post links to both when I get my head around this blog thing.

Oh by the way Planck is my side project which is all things not MonkeyTrial if that makes sense !.

Besides the MonkeyTrial signing to Magnatune thang, another significant event in the world of Clive Mollart is the developing and building of a Show Garden at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show this July. The concept "Sound Garden" is something that as being buzzing around in my head for a number of years now and a newly developed Monkeyware developed by Shaun as made this possible. This is my eighth garden at Tatton so, old hand and all that, but I am still excited. I did apply for the garden to be at Chelsea, but it was, not to be.

Any ho I will post details about the Garden in a new post I have rambled to much on this one. Laters, Clive.

Monday, 3 May 2010

This is the first post of hopefully, many a dribble on all things MonkeyTrial/August Garden Designs and Planck.

Topics in the field of garden design, gardening,electronic music and sound installations.