Going Back To Her Roots
Gardens Illustrated|February 2018

Inspired by Darwin’s theory on plant intelligence, German artist Diana Scherer manipulates the root systems of grass to weave patterns of magical beauty

Alys Hurn

In an introductory paragraph on the homepage of her website, German artist Diana Scherer references The Power of Movement of Plants, a study by Charles and Francis Darwin into the movement of plant roots. She highlights their discovery that plants do not passively grow down but move and observe, demonstrating an intelligence that is often overlooked, but it is this intelligence that has enabled Diana to create stunning pieces of art made entirely from the roots of plants.

Her fascination with plant roots began while studying fine art and photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Diana developed a series of portraits called Nurture Studies, revealing the complex structure of roots in vases by photographing each plant with the vessel they had grown into, removed. She experimented with more than 100 different plants, from poppies and dandelions, to grasses and nettles but it was during this study that she began to connect different plant roots to different materials; the grass roots looked like silk, verbena roots like linen and daisy roots like wool. Diana became taken with the idea that she could create her own patterns using the root system and decided to take her study further.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GARDENS ILLUSTRATEDView All

Hedges

Domestic hedges are more than just dividing lines; they can be ornamental in their own right. James Alexander-Sinclair considers the options, depending on your taste and situation

3 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Going Back To Her Roots

Inspired by Darwin’s theory on plant intelligence, German artist Diana Scherer manipulates the root systems of grass to weave patterns of magical beauty

3 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Paul Barney

The owner of the deliciously surprising Edulis Nursery on his bohemian childhood, following in Gerald Durrell’s footsteps and the ferry journey that changed his life

4 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Tender Loving Care

Even as winter prepares to loosen its grip, Frank finds himself worrying about the tender plants that might not survive its final blast

3 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Gardens Of Hope

Far from being temporary, refugee camps can provide accommodation for displaced people for many years. Gardens bring stability, beauty and dignity.

5 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

A Nod To The Irish

Coosheen on the south coast of Ireland is a Mecca for snowdrop fans with a collection that emphasises the Irish cultivars

2 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld

Known collectively as The Land Gardeners, friends Bridget (left) and Henrietta are fast establishing a reputation for their walled garden designs and impressive cut flowers – as well as their passion for compost

2 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
February 2018

Adam Frost

The Gardeners’ World presenter and seven times Chelsea Gold medallist on working with Geoff Hamilton, laver and bacon sandwiches and why he won’t be giving up coaching junior goalkeepers

4 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
January 2018

Potagers

When is a vegetable garden not a vegetable garden? When it’s a potager of course. But does the distinction come down to anything more than pretension or French good taste?

3 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
December 2017

Time To Stand And Stare

On winter walks Frank finds himself looking at ash trees with fresh eyes, now that time could be running out for these stately natives

3 mins read
Gardens Illustrated
December 2017