Thursday, June 21, 2012

Conversations in the Garden

 Back home yesterday after almost a week away (Vancouver, Victoria), I was thrilled to see that the roses are in full bloom. My camera and I have dozens of photos of this annual eruption, but I'll restrain myself for now. Here are just a very few of the conversations I eavesdropped on while wandering around the garden. . . .
Above, my beloved Graham Thomas, who blooms right near the doorway, sharing its rich, fruity fragrance from June right through September. Paul snuck some pansies into the ground at GT's feet, and I love the way this dark purple exploited an illuminating backdrop.

Below, Graham's shy cousin, Rosa Glauca: Here, I'm enamoured of the blue that underlies both the green and the pink here, such a sophisticated chat between foliage and flowers. . .
 No sophistication at all in this over-the-top combination of green and burgundy leaves, bubblegum pink and coppery orange flowers. . .
 indeed, this dialogue between Royal Sunset rose and sambucca nigra (black elderberry) is even noisier, brighter, in the flesh, so to speak. The camera doesn't capture the intensity of colour.
 More serene is this exchange between various greens, the foxglove's rich mellow pink, and that superbly satisfying blue-with-its-hint-of-purple of the Ceanothus (which we call California lilac here) -- all with their backs to the sea, which is equally unconcerned with their terrestrian chatter.

Writing this after my last post (contemplating approaches to blogging), it occurs to me that my style is somewhat consistent from garden to blog. In both I have an underlying structure, but I surrender often to the serendipitous. Not that I let the haphazard dictate -- there's certainly a point at which I wield trowel and secateurs, weeding and pruning back to my own vision. But I like the tension that a tangle with chance, with the wild, provides. A considered messiness appeals. . .

What about you? Does your gardening style reflect the rest of your life? Or, if you haven't a garden, do you find style consistencies between your approach to work and, say, to your wardrobe? Or between your livingroom's design and your blog's? Your cooking and your haircare? Okay, perhaps I'm frivolous there, but I'm curious.  Also interested to hear if there are some areas in which your style is spectacularly different than in the rest of your life. Pipe up! I'd love to hear your comments.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, actually. Well-structured in the front yard, nicely-behaved rose garden, useful herbs, with lots of screening for privacy. Green, Asian-style, quiet, flowered, haphazard, dappled, well-screened for privacy in the backyard:).

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    1. I love it! Sturdy Gal with a Twist! and that screening for privacy all around, but expansive and restful within . . .

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  2. I have a very messy cottage style colourful garden rather painterly where nature runs riot.

    It's very different from my neutral wardrobe and predictable orderly lifestyle!

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    1. Interesting, Lesley -- the garden allows you to play with colour more than your wardrobe preferences do. Although I'd never call your garden "very messy" from the photos I've seen!

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  3. Your roses look so healthy. I love the look of an unfussy cottage garden but our own tends to be more orderly out of necessity due to its very tiny size. Minimalism seems to be the prevailing theme in most aspects of our lives except cooking and reading and learning. At the moment we're focused on an intensive Summer Spanish class. Hasta la vista!

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    1. It's true that the geography and size/shape of a garden will impose its own style. I'm interested in how we can admire styles very much in someone else's home, garden, or dress, but not want those elements in our own. I love, for example, those serene rooms that blend minimalist, sleek furniture with warm neutral tones, but would packrat them into dissonance in no time.
      Are you taking the Spanish toward a travel goal or just for the joy of speaking another language?

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    2. The MA in English Composition program I'm starting Aug 27 (can't wait!) aims to prepare graduates to teach Basic Writing and Writing Composition at the local Community Colleges and also the local four-year California State University campuses. The diverse student population includes a significant percentage of Spanish speaking English language learners. I hope to teach ESL, Basic Writing and English Composition. Knowledge of Spanish will help towards these goals. I also want to be able to empathize with students struggling to master a foreign language. Martin wants to learn Spanish for similar reasons as he teaches at a US Federal designated Hispanic Serving Institution.

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  4. Definitely. My garden's appearance is underpinned by a rigorous structure steeped in a particular 'philosophy', yet punctuated by the random bounty of Nature and her whimsical seed distribution. Just like my wardrobe: very disciplined and 'strict' in the French sense, yet enlivened by unplanned random finds on world travels. Ditto Life, which is plotted with focussed striving and scheduling and the consequent unfurling of thoroughly-considered plans, yet punctuated by unexpected, serendipitous, and utterly joyous experiences which transpire to be the most memorable and enriching moments of all.
    Hester

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    1. What a wonderfully thoughtful, precisely articulated comment -- thank you, Hester! You remind me, in your reference to Life in General, that my best classes often are the ones in which my lecture notes get abandoned in favour of one brilliant student question, the consideration of which takes us on a fabulous collective adventure. The lecture notes remain as a foundation that guides the discussion, but their "consequent unfurling" allows for a marvellous enriching abandon.

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  5. Hm, what an interesting question. My husband is the primary gardener at our house and things are planted in rigid, well weeded areas. My interior design is traditional/classic. I do not know if there is a word for my style (or if I even have one), but curiously for someone who took a degree in creative writing, which I often think of as a messy, recursive activity, my students often compliment me on how highly organized my classes are.

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    1. Ah, a different angle on the brief dialogue with Hester, above. That tension between organization and apparent messiness -- between any two poles, I suppose -- makes a brilliant engine. And I can see that applying to Style in all areas, really, as Hester's comment suggests.

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  6. Oh, just exquisite. Living amid such lush rose beauty would lift anyone's spirits. I love a messy garden of favourites. Seeing yours makes me miss my own (former) gardens, a fond memory.

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    1. I bet you do miss your lovely garden, but perhaps not the chores that went with it. And there are compensating urban delights you gained in the move, of course.

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  7. I can see your readership is very precise! I too prefer a garden that is well structured, managed. I can't stand it if you can't see ground between the plants - not a lot, just enough. I like things to be organized, well-proportioned, optimally healthy and well hydrated. Oh, and I like all of the flowers to be of one colour.

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  8. As are you my dear . . . I do feel privileged to have such an articulate and thoughtful crew gathered 'round.
    Your garden preferences sound much more urban and urbane than my own, although I would happily admire what you're describing. My garden's always end up manifesting considerable abandon. And I could never be disciplined enough to stick to one colour, although I concede that the effects of such discipline can be hugely appealing.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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