Posts Tagged ‘gardens


currently (sunday chores–of a sort)

the cymbidium season is beginning early this year  (see below.)

yesterday when i watered the orchid garden (the outdoor one–today we did the interior orchids), i was surprised by how many bloom shoots were beginning to appear as their ‘season’ usually begins in late december and early january and lasts into june.

in other news, keeping house (is housewifery too misogynistic?) this week while m. recuperates from knee surgery has been daunting. my hands are dry and cracked from all of the time they’ve spent in dishwater (i loathe the dishwasher–and it loathes me.) my back hurts from lifting dogs and lovers (“dogs and lovers” — a discarded title from d.h. lawrence…) from the bed to the floor, from the couch to a standing position, from the chair to the floor and back up again — the dogs are too old to jump any longer, but have refused to give up their favorite lookout posts, high ground always the preferred location for their morning, afternoon, and evening naps; it’s not as if they’re actually watch dogs. although their ability to tell time is uncanny. 6 a.m. first walk, followed by breakfast (theirs, not mine, but m. does have his cereal after they’ve eaten, which i’ve been tray serving with bib everyday this past week as he lounges in bed with his knee elevated and ice-packed), then nap; at 11 a.m. they begin their anticipatory water-drinking in advance of their next walk which must occur no later than 11:30 a.m., after which the humans have lunch, the dogs nap again, m. lays down (this week) again and by 3 p.m. joey — the terrier — is up again and asking to be lifted down from wherever he had been napping (yes, he does ask, nicely at first, but if you ignore him, he becomes a bit more insistent)–and we’re out the door for his longer walk (billy, too old and cantankerous for anything longer than a tw0-block perambulation these days eschews the longer walk, unless of course we utilize the doggy buggy in which case he then rides along like queen victoria reviewing the royal scots, if he could wave he would.) and we’re back and ready for their late afternoon repast (rinse and repeat.)

but you know, it’s good to be needed and i’ll take whatever need comes my way.


my secret garden (i’m pitching this as a reality-tv series)

imagine this:

without the manufactured drama and the staged bitch fights. oh, there may be the occasional spat between the roses as they first bloom in the spring, but they’ll soon realize there’s no future in animosity.

they won’t take any trips to islands in the caribbean or exotic (to americans at least) countries in north africa. what would be the point when the setting for this series is as complex and remote and beautiful as the casbah/st. bart’s/ipanema?

there won’t be any talk of nipping and tucking, although every once-in-a-while a pair of pruning shears may make an unscheduled appearance.

instead, this series will offer viewers what only patience can provide, true beauty.


my very own fairy glade (with a nod to arthur rackham)

what? you don’t have one?


french/english giverny/laguna

giverny has a new gardener, an englishman. sacre bleu! you might say, but a good gardener is a good gardener and even the french understand that. read about him and his approach to gardening by going to this article in today’s l.a.times.

we are english gardeners, more of a jumble, less of a plan — not that we don’t think about what we’re doing, but we do have a tendency to keep adding without subtracting unlike the french with their patterns and trimming, and boxes and pansies here and lupine there, tulips and daffodils separated (god forbid they should touch each other, you know how they can be when left untended; it’s shocking their depravity).

that may be what we loved about giverny, monet’s garden northwest of paris, it has that feeling of abundance without thought, a certain abandonment of sensibility, freedom, lusciousness of color and shape and form.

the author and his companion at giverneycaptivated by the gardens then as now, the author (right) and his companion of 30 years contemplate the beauty that is giverny.


confessions of an occasional gardener

confession is such a big word.  too big for today anyway.  it’s implications are too complex & demanding & frankly, i may just not be up to the task, besides, who in their right mind would be interested in what i would/could/should confess?  particularly since there’s no way for you to confirm or deny the truth of what i am confessing.

it’s true that the photos that accompany this post are of flowers in our garden.  it is also true that they are as freshly made as a bouquet in a florist’s shop.

it is a fiction that they have not been manipulated.  i cannot resist tweaking the contrast, the lighting, the saturation & the temperature until they express how i see the garden.  it is an idealized view with a foot root firmly planted in reality while the rest of it dances in the breeze of fiction.

in a life filled with priorities, the garden sadly suffers from benign neglect (gray gardens); all of its little fingers grasping at the hems of my long pants, shorts & night shirt/little whimpers of ‘pay attention’ ‘look here’ ‘this is no way to treat us, we who treat you so well.’

somehow though, it seems to be okay for the garden & for me.  just often enough i work my way through: dead-heading, sweeping, fertilizing, plucking, pruning.  it may be that i am only able to work a small section of it this week & it may be several weeks before i get back in there & work another section of it (i apologize.)

the garden, though, has its own rhythm, one that i can only listen to & react to & look at & admire.  the color palette (m. laid out the design, i’ve added to it willy-nilly over the years since he has been unable to physically work in here) surprises me — nature surprises me because there are no colors that do not belong together (everyone should know that.)

the true confession is that i love it more than i let on; there are times when it grabs a hold of me & shakes, shakes me hard.  i’ve yet to weep with love & joy, but deep inside it is the ecstasy of emotion that settles sweetly in my soul.


through a lens, darkly v2

today was one of those exquisite spring days.   i spent the morning working in the backyard (sweeping the patio, cleaning the outdoor furniture & thinking that they needed to be re-stained this summer) making sure i took lots of little breaks to admire my work (& to rest my aching back) all this work the downside to having been a lazy bum, ignoring these chores/finding excuses/generally avoiding physical labor.

this afternoon, on a walk through our hillside neighborhood, i carefully composed several  photographs utilizing my digital camera that carefully mimicked those i had taken yesterday with the camera in a mobile cell phone, thinking that they needed to be seen clearly & without the gauze of. its low resolution.

the atmosphere sparkled with sunlight, glinting & shimmering against the little shards of mirror-like moisture/smog/onshore ocean air that makes the light in southern california particularly attractive (to artists, photographers, writers.)  i wanted to capture that sparkling light & hoped that its elusive quality would translate itself as if i had been able to capture the moment when a conjurer makes his beautiful assistant disappear in a wisp of smoke (& mirror.)

with the sun as bright as it was, i ducked among the shade thrown by ficus trees along the sidewalk to take a moment’s cool respite from the sun’s intensityi reviewed the photographs i had already taken & was delighted to see that  it was capturing the mosaic quality of the valley below &  the pixelated light.

interestingly, both gardening & walking have been solitary pursuits, & i have been left with my own thoughts & dreams & ruminations, only the thrum of the occasional car passing by in the canyon below or speeding up the hill–birdsong punctuating the script.  i am often stunned by the lack of people walking & enjoying our beautiful neighborhood & the stunning views we are privileged to have at a moment’s notice.  i rarely come across anyone else on one of my perambulations through the neighborhood which leaves me saddened & elated.

i faced the steep uphill walk, its vanishing point a shady goal from the relentless (but pleasantly familiar)  sunlight, a warm, friendly arm around my shoulders.   i thought of a drafting class that i took in 8th or 9th grade, taught by mr. ________, the crew-cut, button-down, chino-wearing ‘shop’ teacher who gently allowed me my incompetencies in wood/metal shop class (in case any of us were not cut out for further academic study, technical school instead) & encouraged & admired my drafting flourishes with kind words & high marks.

a young star pine (aka norfolk island pine) at the top of the hill drew me to its gallant handsomeness, branches bursting from its trunk in a joyous hallelujah of matter over mind (will we see more clearly after death?)  a joyous evocation of the beauty of nature/the nature of beauty.

i heard the beating of my heart in counterpoint to the beating of a bird’s wings, the rush & rustle of the wind on the upbeat;  the sun, even, harmonically shimmering, twinkling, tinkling.

again, like yesterday, i looped around the top of the hill through a more manicured community, each shrub, tree, lawn, pavement, shadow elegantly topiaried & espaliered; all bending nature to do man’s bidding; thinking that for now, we may believe we can see through the lens of this life, but darkly, darkly.

version 1 can be read by clicking here.



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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