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Thread: EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: the Garden

  1. #1

    EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: the Garden

    (This post is the first in a series titled EXPRESSING CREATIVITY. So please stay tuned.)

    EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: The Garden

    My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. –Claude Monet

    -[F]or me the garden is one of the most satisfying aspect of my life. Its lessons are multitudinous and its rewards unlimited. Its offer of retreat and a place for solitude is a powerful pull, as is the solitude and retreat of my art studio. I try to carry its beauty and simplicity into my art work space, not in the sense that I want to reproduce it, paint it, reconstruct it, but in the sense that I want to be affected by its powerful grip, its ability to make me focus as nothing in my life has ever made me focus. I want to feel the same passion for my art as I do for my garden. I want to have the same patience there that I have learned to have in the garden, and I strive for the continuity that nature provides and the joy. I want to learn from its message of impermanence and death, as well as its miracle of life…- (modified a bit from a museum talk I gave in the early 90s.)

    I use garden in my artwork.

    Plants are a tangible connection to earth, environment, regeneration, fertility and sustainability. The miracle of a tiny seed, holding life force within its hard shell fascinates; I draw seeds, or plant them for installations. I use the plant matter to make paper. I draw roots, I draw grasses, I grow gardens.
    http://annecooperstudio.com/installations.html
    http://annecooperstudio.com/installations%20two.html
    http://annecooperstudio.com/twoD.html

    There are many who do not have an outdoor space to garden, and I realize I am very lucky to have a ½ acre yard. A garden can be large (see Kotei’s post below) or as tiny as one geranium or a tomato plant in a pot. It is all life, and growth. All a miracle as far as I am concerned. You can grow food, or flowers, or trees or any botanical that you can make flourish with love, attention, soil, water and light. Even though I use the symbols of garden in my artwork, the garden stands alone as a creative venture, a collaboration between me and nature. Meitou offers more gardening suggestions below.

    Tell us about your garden, and if you aren’t shy show us your garden, big or small. We need inspiration at this time of introspection and solitude.
    It is spring in the northern hemisphere, perfect for planting, fall in the southern, time for harvesting. Please let us hear from you.
    We are honored to have Kotei share his magical garden with us. His post follows this one.

    And now Meitou's prompt

    Expressing Creativity Prompt 1 – The Garden

    Mary Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    With silver bells and cockle shells
    And pretty maids all in a row.

    English Nursery Rhyme origin unknown.

    We are stardust
    We are golden
    And we've got to get ourselves
    Back to the garden.

    Woodstock - Joni Mitchell

    Welcome to a new Art Circle project!

    How does your garden grow? Are there cockle shells? Is it stardust, golden? Is it a pot of basil on a windowsill? A silk orchid, a small tray of sand? Is it perhaps in your mind, or an image on your wall?

    We are presenting here a description of Kotei's beautiful garden, a true labour of love, homage to Zen and the Japanese Garden tradition and a complete but ever involving expression of creativity. But a garden can take many forms – both physical and conceptual. It can be practical and productive, or pure decoration. It can be outside of your door or a private hideaway at the bottom of your garden. It can be made up of real living plants, but equally it can be paper, wood, synthetic. It can be a vast public space or a table in the corner of a room. It can be on a mountain, or even under water. However your garden grows, it represents a connection between yourself and nature, yourself and your creativity, yourself and your imagination.

    In what we see as a developing and organic new project, this first prompt asks you to bring here images or words in response to the question 'How does your garden grow?'
    I've kept this initial prompt deliberately short and ambiguous – show us what a garden means to you - a work in progress, a poem, a song a painting or drawing of your own or that you admire, or by another artist. Build, shape, create. Show us perhaps some seeds just planted, emerging seedlings, a beloved indoor plant. A collage, fabric work, upcycling.

    Interpret this first prompt in a way that expresses your creativity – and have fun!

    Gassho and happy gardening

    Anne and Meitou

    we both sat today

  2. #2
    FROM KOTEI

    THE GARDEN AND ME

    Somehow it feels wrong saying “This is my garden“.
    “I am one of the integral parts of this garden“, might be more accurate.
    The garden shaped me at least as much as I shaped it.

    I was helping a friend plant some large trees from his nursery in one of the local botanical gardens
    The botanical garden was closed to the public when I was there, early one morning in spring. My job was driving one of the tree trucks and supervising the unloading. After finishing, I walked through the different parts of the garden and sat down by a pond in the Japanese section. Not knowing details about sitting Zazen, I think I did something like zazen that day.

    I know, Japanese gardens are not necessarily about practicing Zazen, although you can find a large flat rock called “Zazen stone“ in some. This was my personal moment that, many years later, brought me here, sitting Zazen, calling myself “Kotei“, the Old Garden.

    I was told that when I was barely able to walk, I dug my way through the soil of my grandfather’s garden, nibbling at potatoes and carrots and staring at insects, that stared back at me. In later years I helped with planting, caring, harvesting this garden. My source of income during school years was newspaper delivery and mowing lawns and pulling weeds in the gardens of my customers. I volunteered for conservation work in forests and nearby rivers and I am still caring about the renaturation of some former gravel pits.

    After years of a career in the big city, keeping myself sane with working in the forest and helping my above-mentioned friend with his horticulture company from time to time, I was finally able to return to suburbia, starting my own garden. It tripled its size after some years (the neighboring property was for sale). Living with such a garden is a never-ending project. I attracted some attention with my garden, and I am doing occasional workshops with customers and landscape architects as well as help planning and implementing gardens.

    Why is there such a strong emotional reaction to some gardens?
    What is it that makes me feel so calm and one with everything when experiencing the garden?
    What is the connection?

    This is what I’m exploring.

    Growing vegetables and herbs… touching the earth, seeding, growing, fertilizing, cultivating, harvesting, eating, composting the leftovers. There is a certain fulfillment in this, being part of the eternal cycle of all things. Growth and decay - becoming and passing away. I am finding this in ornamental gardening, too.

    But I am also searching for something different.

    Nature is not necessarily a peaceful and forgiving place, especially out in the forest when it gets dark, far away from the well-maintained paths.
    Basic emotions, before thinking, seem to be guiding away from the danger, towards safety. Dense forest, damp air, muted sounds and light, getting dark. Creepy feeling in the neck from the direction where the forest gets even more dark and dense. Unease… even fear… need to get out of here…
    One hears a murmuring stream from a certain direction, the forest is less dense, and a bit of light is breaking through the treetops. Feeling drawn towards it… Heading in that direction, wiggling through some plants, breaking through the bushes… Breathing… feeling space and a bit freedom. Then looking over a clearing. A small pond. Warm sun. Catching a view down the hill into the far distance.
    Warmth… Relaxation… Vista
    Watching the little brook splashing through some stones and gravel. Refreshing. Playful.
    Some stable boulders looking out of the soil. Overhanging trees, some round bushes, stable forms.
    Stability. Rest.

    Beauty. A place, where the animal mind comes to a rest. Where the triggers of survival fade and those of relaxation and contentment predominate. Here there is room for a poetic, playful state of mind.
    I believe that the fulfilling, peaceful, awestruck emotion that comes with recognizing Beauty has its origin in something like the above.
    It arises, telling you that something is really OK. That the searching has an end. You arrived. Its OK to rest, OK to settle.

    This is part of what I am trying to accomplish with my garden(s) and what I think Japanese gardens are about, too. Simplifying the elements, still effective in achieving that awestruck, peaceful, poetic state of mind. Finding the basic form and layout as a kind of worship of our origin in nature. A deep connection of our unconscious with the world around.

    Joining nature and culture for me is an important element of a garden, too. Using human made objects, accenting nature and provoking thoughts. Admiring sun through shadows, the rain through shelter and gravel that changes colour when wet and a pond for watching the drops. Creating upwards bent surfaces where the falling snow forms neat cushions. Planting bamboo and grasses and hanging a very small summer-bell… Hearing the wind and watching… Witnessing the elements and seasons.

    Making paths that invite one into the garden and guide the visitor.

    Age - Usage of natural material that ages and weathers, and fits into nature. - bamboo fences - forming plants so they look old. Accenting some dead branches of trees, not removing them.

    Balance vs. Symmetry - Natural form and distribution of items, balanced, but not symmetrical

    History - Change - Reusing historical material

    Usefulness - Integrating the things I want to do outside in all this - Bees - Bonsai - Telescope (Moon watching platform)

    Metaphors through items - Evoking emotions, poetic thoughts

    Originally, I didn’t want too many Japanese items, like lanterns, but as they fell out of other projects here and there, I now have some. One of the ideas about this garden was that I’d try making as much as possible out of the things as they are and are readily available. I use the fine slate plates, horizontally stacked forming black walls, that are from the roof of the house which I demolished for making room for the pond. A large handmade granite water basin was once an electrolysis basin from a metalworking company. It was on its way into the shredder.

    In a nutshell, bonsai is similar to what I’ve discussed above. The tree is shaped in a way that it looks natural, old and expresses an emotion. And it’s joined with a ceramic planter.

    The 700 tons of granite boulders used in this part of the garden were pushed by the last glacier that came through this area and collected over years by a horticultural company that I am friendly with. They needed to clear the land where the stones were stored. Luckily around that time, I was building this garden. One of the Japanese looking stone lanterns and some suiseki were made from these stones, too.
    The oak for the garden-building is from a wonderful little family sawmill I visited in Austria.
    The little sandstone devil-head in the moss is from a church in Berlin and came down as the church, used as a shelter, was destroyed by an allied bomb near the end of WWII. The blue flower in front of it is a myosotis, a forget-me-not. The little devil-head tells a koan.

    Nearly everything is telling a story.

    Practicing Samu in the garden fits extremely well into the overall idea. Experiencing the seasons and observing the cycles of the plants and watching the many animals in this garden and between the large trees of the nearby forest is really wonderful. Witnessing the hundreds of toads that come every spring and the ten thousand that leave some weeks later into the forest is part of the rich experience.

    And so much more.

    Thanks for reading.
    Deep bows,
    Kotei


    Pictures?
    Usually, I don’t take pictures - because of Time.
    Not because I don’t have the time, but because the garden’s different features show at different times.
    Looking at a picture limits my impression to this one moment in the serial view of events.
    Somehow direct experience does not and makes time something different.


    P.S. Kotei's images are in following posts.
    Last edited by Cooperix; 05-05-2020 at 07:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Thank you for posting, Anne and Meitou.

    As there are only 4 image links in one posting allowed, I'll post more than one reply.
    Please let me know if this is too much and I will delete those.









    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  4. #4
    Next pictures:









    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  5. #5
    Aaand the rest:





    A short phone video I took end of march, still waiting for spring.



    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  6. #6
    Thank you Anne, Meitou and Kotei.

    Such beauty. A place to meditate. A place to appreciate. You are artist of the natural

    How does your garden grow?.....my vision was to blend the area around my home into the surrounding native landscape. For 20 years I planted species native to the area and allowed natural recolonization after construction of our home was completed. My goal was to be part of the natural landscape and invite wildlife to continue to share this space. I did emphasize flowering species for pollinators and aesthetics. But also included other species (Agaves, Ocotillos, Yuccas and shrubs) for structural habitat diversity. My yard is an extension of my deep connection to the natural world. An effort to minimize my impact. A place to meditate and a place to appreciate the diversity of life. To give back.

    ***Opps...I made a 30 second video of the yard but now unable to upload. My technical understanding failed. So my post concludes without an image! I will try to obtain photos soon.

    I have followed your Art Circle but until the focus turned to gardens I had nothing to contribute.

    Doshin
    St
    Last edited by Doshin; 05-05-2020 at 11:59 PM.

  7. #7


    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  8. #8
    Doshin,
    We'd love to see the video (me especially, as you are close by in this magically beautiful state) if you can manage to upload it. I moved here years ago from the semi tropics of Houston, to the arid mountainous beauty of NM. Gardening is a very different action here. Stark and challenging, but as always working with the environment you live in makes for great rewards. We'd all enjoy seeing your garden.

    Morning bows
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Doshin,
    We'd love to see the video (me especially, as you are close by in this magically beautiful state) if you can manage to upload it. I moved here years ago from the semi tropics of Houston, to the arid mountainous beauty of NM. Gardening is a very different action here. Stark and challenging, but as always working with the environment you live in makes for great rewards. We'd all enjoy seeing your garden.

    Morning bows
    Anne

    ~lahst~

    Maybe Kotei can give some technical advice to me. I filmed it on my Android Phone but when I tried to post here on the forum I got a message about not recognizing the file (or something like that). In the past I have posted videos from the phone to social media sites but not here.

    Thanks Kotei for any help you can offer.

    Doshin
    St

  10. #10


    Hello Doshin,

    I think the forum software does not recognise the video file itself.
    I uploaded the video to my Youtube account and then just put the link to it in the forum post.

    I am curious about your garden, too.
    Just thought about you some days ago, as I came across that strange "slow-worm"? Anguis fragilis in the garden.
    Sand lizards on the rocks ( Lacerta agilis ) and Ring snakes ( Natrix natrix ) hunting frogs in the pond are regular visitors, but that was the first time with the Anguis in the garden.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post


    Hello Doshin,

    I think the forum software does not recognise the video file itself.
    I uploaded the video to my Youtube account and then just put the link to it in the forum post.

    I am curious about your garden, too.
    Just thought about you some days ago, as I came across that strange "slow-worm"? Anguis fragilis in the garden.
    Sand lizards on the rocks ( Lacerta agilis ) and Ring snakes ( Natrix natrix ) hunting frogs in the pond are regular visitors, but that was the first time with the Anguis in the garden.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Thanks Kotei. I will learn how to upload to YouTube. Those herps, I am familiar with each genus though not the specific species you have. Except I may have seen Lacerta frigilliswhile in Europe years ago. As you probably know the Slow Worm is actually a Legless Lizard. We have a couple of species of legless lizards in North America too. Interesting that in reptiles “legless” evolved in snakes and a few species of lizards.

    Doshin
    St
    Last edited by Doshin; 05-06-2020 at 11:03 PM.

  12. #12
    Working on video upload but here is part of the garden. Photos taken preciously. In first photo, To the left is a solid rock ridge from which I moved some of the rocks into the garden as were there before leveling the site for construction. Mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, deer, white collared peccaries, birds and many reptiles come into this space. Some for water in a small pond we put here (an elevated rubber stock tank with emergent aquatic plants). As mentioned the majority of vegetation is native to area. I chose flowers with differing season so pollinators (bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths) have food from March to October.

    80844385-E3CD-4FF4-84B3-CCE21A47C7D7.jpeg


    The evening shot shows transition into adjacent habitat and ridge

    575B1650-7B0C-4FF0-B873-130711F74D4B.jpeg

    One of the pollinators on a native Claret Cup Cactus

    254F5BFB-F470-4A44-9256-A358535A30B3.jpeg

    The west side of yard grades into a grassland. Species in foreground were planted or recolonized.

    AC7CBA03-FF53-42CF-A5AF-CD4D39FEAF20.jpeg

    White Collared Peccary (also locally known as Javelina) visiting yard. They come frequently sometimes a dozen. They mainly feed on bird seed spilt from the feeders and for water. However a few times they dug up some of my plants. I asked them to not do that

    3EA39ABF-172C-40D1-A965-8DD2A4233262.jpeg





    Doshin
    St
    Last edited by Doshin; 05-06-2020 at 11:00 PM.

  13. #13
    Doshin,

    Stunning sky, land, landscaping and photos! Looks like you back up to BLM or National forest land. Not sure where you are, close to Silver City? or Deming?
    Thanks for sharing. A testament of how beautiful the desert is in its arid and vast landscapes, open clear sky and gnarly population of amazing creatures.

    Also such a fine sharp contrast to Kotei's scrumptiously lush, sheltered and wet gardens. The full spectrum of possibilities on this amazing planet.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  14. #14
    Doshin,
    fascinating, how your house and garden merges with the open landscape.
    It seem like a celebration, a deep bow to nature.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  15. #15
    Doshin,
    Those are nice images in an environment that I would say is quite challenging to visualize, design and grow things. I am an avid gardener. I'd say a bit obsessed. You know those thoughts that jump into your mind during zazen? Mine usually have to do with what I'm going to do once I get out in the garden.

    Why am I this way? I'd say after all these years of experiencing things, to just get back in the dirt, compost, bugs, flowers, weeds, sun, rain, plants is just the most natural, basic thing to do. Oh, that and sitting zazen. But they're really both the same thing.

    Gassho
    StLAH
    James

  16. #16
    I love that these two gardens are showcased together in this thread - each in its own way stunningly beautiful.
    Kotei's homage to Japanese gardens, beautifully arranged and curated, and Doshin's wonderfully organic and vibrant desert garden, an untamed wildness which shows how it is possible for us to live as one with nature. Both are a testament to the people who love and care for them and I thank you both for sharing the beauty.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Doshin,

    Stunning sky, land, landscaping and photos! Looks like you back up to BLM or National forest land. Not sure where you are, close to Silver City? or Deming?
    Thanks for sharing. A testament of how beautiful the desert is in its arid and vast landscapes, open clear sky and gnarly population of amazing creatures.

    Also such a fine sharp contrast to Kotei's scrumptiously lush, sheltered and wet gardens. The full spectrum of possibilities on this amazing planet.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~
    Hi Anne,

    I live on a ranch east of Silver City. Deming is an hour south from and where we go for shopping.

    The land you see in the photos is primarily private. However Public Lands (Bureau of Land Managemnt and State) are all over and comprise the majority of land near me. Forest Service lands start about 3 miles west. The abundance of Public Lands is why I chose this place to live and of course the unique diversity of wildlife.

    If I lived in a land of more rain I would probably have landscaped like Kotei. Especially after watching his video.

    I hope others will add their part of the world

    Doshin
    St

  18. #18
    When I finished my last project, which involved clay and box making I needed a break from the mess that both those mediums make. I started drawing again. I have some pale greenkitikatta Japanese paper so I started drawing sticks. This fits in the 'garden' theme. Now dead parts of past gardens...I am working on a series I call Book of Sticks. Right now the plan is to put several drawings together in pine boxes. But for now it's nice just to be drawing, clean and very quiet. Like being in the garden.


    I tried to post an image but it is the wrong image!! My new computer and not having photoshop any longer has me flummoxed. I will get one up as soon as I figure out how to resize in GIMP!!

    Can't seem to delete the image from my previous project. Just ignore. Looks like both images are here. Past and Current projects


    Gassho
    Anne

    ~st~
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Cooperix; 05-10-2020 at 06:13 PM. Reason: wrong photo

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    When I finished my last project, which involved clay and box making I needed a break from the mess that both those mediums make. I started drawing again. I have some pale greenkitikatta Japanese paper so I started drawing sticks. This fits in the 'garden' theme. Now dead parts of past gardens...I am working on a series I call Book of Sticks. Right now the plan is to put several drawings together in pine boxes. But for now it's nice just to be drawing, clean and very quiet. Like being in the garden.


    I tried to post an image but it is the wrong image!! My new computer and not having photoshop any longer has me flummoxed. I will get one up as soon as I figure out how to resize in GIMP!!

    Can't seem to delete the image from my previous project. Just ignore. Looks like both images are here. Past and Current projects


    Gassho
    Anne

    ~st~
    Thank you for this thread Anne, and thanks to everyone for the great posts and pictures.

    As an aside, if you are using windows there is a free program called paint.net that was developed by the original developers of Microsoft's Paint. It does a lot more. It is very easy to use and is great for simple touch up to photos. It has resizing, color correction, layers. All kind of things. Not quite as powerful as photoshop or gimp but really easy to use. I have all three and use paint.net most of the time.

    https://www.getpaint.net/

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    Last edited by Shinshi; 05-10-2020 at 07:36 PM.
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  20. #20
    Thank you Shinshi,
    I just downloaded that program! I do a lot of work with images so I have been completely hamstrung since I changed computers.
    This will help

    bows
    Anne

    ~st~

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    When I finished my last project, which involved clay and box making I needed a break from the mess that both those mediums make. I started drawing again. I have some pale greenkitikatta Japanese paper so I started drawing sticks. This fits in the 'garden' theme. Now dead parts of past gardens...I am working on a series I call Book of Sticks. Right now the plan is to put several drawings together in pine boxes. But for now it's nice just to be drawing, clean and very quiet. Like being in the garden.


    I tried to post an image but it is the wrong image!! My new computer and not having photoshop any longer has me flummoxed. I will get one up as soon as I figure out how to resize in GIMP!!

    Can't seem to delete the image from my previous project. Just ignore. Looks like both images are here. Past and Current projects


    Gassho
    Anne

    ~st~
    Oh, that's a gorgeous drawing Anne, exquisite! Please show more!
    And thank you Shinshi for that programme info, I'm also going to check that out.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  22. #22
    Although showing my garden isn't my plan for this project, I thought I would post a couple of pictures that I took last week, just to assure folk that it's possible to be a part of this project if you also have a postage stamp sized space outside, in the middle of a town, surrounded by other buildings. Our yard measures just 9 metres by 2.8 metres, some of that taken up by steps down into the yard and a small covered space, which we have elevated by referring to it as The Shed, which houses our spare water tank - needed, as the water is frequently turned off in the evenings during the summer ( to make sure tourists don't go without , no comment) , and our gas bottle for cooking, as we have no mains gas here. There's also a smaller bottle attached to a camping stove in the shed, that we use in the summer to fry fish etc. No barbeque as these are strictly prohibited in urban spaces unless you have a rooftop terrace or large independent garden in which a bbq would not disturb neighbours. As small as it appears we are currently using 70 cm that actually belongs to our neighbour ( long story predating our ownership of the apartment) which will have to be given back at some point.

    Although this is a very small space, it's gone through many reincarnations over the 18 years that we've had it. This year I wanted to grow suitable veg in pots and containers and also get a fruit tree of some sort, but the Covid-19 crisis changed all that as there was no way we could obtain compost or plants. Still I managed to sow some french bean, basil and coriander seeds, and keep mint and parsley going from last year. Our florist neighbours have now opened, so we have some cherry tomatoes planted. We have a small vine which is covered in tiny bunches of grapes, but whether they will come to fruition or not is another story. As you can see, it's a well lived in space, we've managed to fit in a chair and tables, a beach chair and sun lounger, cat basket, a small water feature with a fountain of sorts, and fairy lights. No electric outside so the latter are solar powered. I also have a tiny plastic covered 'greenhouse'

    Ours is a truly urban yard, as you can see by the glorious view of surrounding palazzi Gardens truly do come in all shapes and sizes, and even the smallest can be made into something with a little imagination, even less money, but lots of enthusiasm.

    The yard from the back door of our apartment

    yard from top.jpg


    From the shed entrance

    yard from shed.jpg


    From the back fence toward the shed and steps - complete with Pepe and looking a bit chaotic, but I snapped it as it was..

    yard from back fence.jpg


    Our urban landscape

    view of palazzi intorno.jpg

    After a bout of absolutely beautiful weather, we've had a couple of days of steady rain and wind. When the weather improves I want to make images for this project, of various plants and objects in the garden, probably through drawing or watercolour, possibly using images from Google earth as well.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    Last edited by Meitou; 05-11-2020 at 07:21 PM.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  23. #23
    Meitou,

    Your yard invites a sit and a cup of coffee. Lovely.

    Doshin
    St

  24. #24
    Meitou,

    The coziness, the freshness, the intimacy and the feeling of lushness with so little space is just wonderful. Truly I envy you. As I've gotten older tending all this land has become something very different from my youthful enthusiasm. And a garden in the desert is something that cannot be ignored, unless, like Doshin's all native plantings (although I suspect Doshin spends time with some management in his garden. Entropy is always looking over our shoulders).

    Your garden is lovely. Thanks. I very much look forward to see your 2-D response to it.
    And yes, let's all meet for a cup of coffee in your little garden when this craziness ends!

    bows
    Anne

    ~st~

  25. #25
    Anne,
    the stick is fascinating. Checking the garden after a storm, I usually collect some of them.
    Some works in the garden need help from other people. From a book called 'The art of setting stones', I picked up the custom of making a little fire from those sticks and brewing tea-water on the fire, before starting the work. It helps setting the right mood.

    Meitou,
    your space invites for experimenting, planting and taking a rest. A wonderful creative atmosphere.

    Here is my attempt of growing catnip for the flowers in a pot.
    catnip.jpg

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Last edited by Kotei; 05-12-2020 at 08:17 AM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  26. #26
    Thanks Kotei,
    I love sticks, old twisted bark laying bare the wood beneath. And I enjoy drawing segmented objects, leaves, roots, insects. Anyway, this is a good project for me right now, quiet and peaceful.

    Your lovely practice of burning sticks to heat your tea reminds me of an essay by Barry Lopez. He is my favorite naturalist writer. A real nature empath and fine writer as well. This essay from years back is about a potter who lives near Lopez in the woods of Oregon. He fires with an anagama kiln, a Japanese style kiln, huge thing and built in the side of a hill. It takes days to fire it (wood is the fuel) and many people to help out. He ends the article writing about how he and the potter decide the next firing they will only use wood that's been gnawed on by beavers. It takes several cords of wood for each firing!! Like the sticks heating your tea. I love the symbolism of both intentions. Its a long article and I've not read it in years but so good I saved a printed version in my files. Here's an online version if anyone is interested. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Befor......-a020121815

    And here's image of my garden in a salad bowl. First salad for 2 out of the spring garden.
    salad.jpg

    gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  27. #27
    And here's image of my garden in a salad bowl. First salad for 2 out of the spring garden.
    salad.jpg

    gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~[/QUOTE]


    Anne, sticks are good!Beautiful art.

    Kotei...nice ritual.

    Anne..What are the yellow flowers in the salad?

    Doshin
    St

  28. #28
    Doshin, We've had very warm weather and those are from the mustard which has started to bolt. Pretty though! I planted a mesclun mix, mustard, black seeded simpson, a red leaf lettuce and spinach. Soon they will all be bolting!
    Bows
    A

    ~st~

  29. #29
    Today is the first day we're out of the threat of frost. So I'm putting out all my annual flowers and edibles including tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, oregano, basil, fennel, and some kind of raspberry salad greens(?). Also finally unwrapping my fig tree from its winter cloak and planting two new grape vines.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  30. #30
    My garden.



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  31. #31
    Shoki,

    We look forward to images as your garden grows? And what are raspberry salad greens? Sound delicious.
    Jishin, I wondered when we'd hear from you! And such a wonderful west Texas, vast sky landscape/ garden! I especially enjoy the yard ornaments.

    Horticultural therapy has been used for a couple of decades to help relieve stress, anxiety and help with focus. It is used in prisons and other places with high risk populations. With great success! A garden in all its beauty offers healing.
    Here's an article I just came upon quoting from the late neurologist, Oliver Sachs essay 'The Healing Power of Gardens'.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/l...ultPosition=30


    bows

    Anne

    ~lahst~
    Last edited by Cooperix; 05-15-2020 at 09:54 PM.

  32. #32
    Wow, everyone. _()_ _()_ _()_

    Ours was never a contemplation garden in the usual sense though we have often contemplated it.

    1-DSCN1576.jpg

    History thereof, in photos:

    http://risashome.blogspot.com/2020/0...often-did.html

    gassho
    shonin sat today
    I'm a visiting unsui from Bird Haven Zendo. Take what I say with a box of salt. Mmm!

  33. #33
    Meitou,
    I love your cozy little space. I always liked small spaced gardens and yours is so inviting.

    Gassho
    ST/lah
    James

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    My garden.



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    You have captured the essence of the Great Plains. I love the long views. Are those Prairie Wolves?

    Doshin
    St

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Shōnin Risa Bear View Post
    Wow, everyone. _()_ _()_ _()_

    Ours was never a contemplation garden in the usual sense though we have often contemplated it.

    1-DSCN1576.jpg

    History thereof, in photos:

    http://risashome.blogspot.com/2020/0...often-did.html

    gassho
    shonin sat today
    Nice

    Doshin
    St

  36. #36
    Wow, thank you all for posting about your gardens.

    Those wide views, Jishin... wow... Locally, I know them only from looking into the sky at night. :-)
    Shonin, I enjoyed reading and viewing more about wonderful your place...

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  37. #37
    Beautiful Shonin!
    I have to admit my favorite gardens are vegetable gardens. Rainbow Swiss chard! Russian red kale, daikon radish, cauliflower, perfect Cherokee purple tomato....on and on. Gorgeous. Thanks for letting us get a look at your garden and the history behind your garden. And straw mulch even! The thing I love about some Japanese gardens is how they incorporate the distant view as part of the garden. And there it is in your garden.

    I grew up eating the vegetables my father grew in our hot Texas backyard gardens. So I have a bit of that I in my history as well.

    Deep bows,
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    You have captured the essence of the Great Plains. I love the long views. Are those Prairie Wolves?

    Doshin
    St
    Hi Doshin,

    That's the view from my rocking chair in my front porch. That's my 10 year old son's Aussie (not the one you met) and my German shepherd that I take with me to work everyday.

    Gassho.

    PS: I have seen Doshin's place in person and it is fantastic. Pictures do not do it justice

  39. #39
    A couple of apple and peach trees and a peach on the side of the house.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  40. #40
    Wonderful photos everyone!

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  41. #41
    Lovely contributions to this thread everyone, thank you. And for the kind words about my postage stamp sized yard.
    This might be pushing the subject to the limit, but it's such a beautiful article, not just for the words but for the illustrations too - and then, it is about trees, so that's my excuse.

    https://emergencemagazine.org/story/woods-work/

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    (...)
    This might be pushing the subject to the limit, but it's such a beautiful article, not just for the words but for the illustrations too - and then, it is about trees, so that's my excuse. (...)
    Thank you. The landscape, my garden is a part of, once was a sandy hill, left by the last glacier period.
    Some hundred years ago, the danish crown gave it to a local tradesman with the obligation to plant trees on it.
    Now, we're living in a forest and maintenance of the old and young trees in different ways is done regularly all around an my obligation, too.
    It is a never-ending story, convincing the authorities that this is not 'nature to be left on it's own', but 'culture that has to be cultivated'.
    At least for my kind of garden and it's 'borrowed scenery (shakkei)', your article is spot on.

    Me, yesterday, maintaining the form of one of the pines:

    niwaki1.jpg niwaki2.jpg

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Last edited by Kotei; 05-20-2020 at 07:19 AM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  43. #43
    YIKES! Kotei. Your pictures literally took my breathe away. Be most careful..

    deep bow to a brave man,
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    YIKES! Kotei. Your pictures literally took my breathe away. Be most careful..

    deep bow to a brave man,
    Anne

    ~lahst~
    Yes, Yikes! Those are real Japanese gardening ladders. I have a real Japanese gardener here in real Japan for my real Japanese garden so I know. (Unlike Kotei, I do not feel competent to maintain the place more than trimming the bushes and pulling weeds. The gardener comes in with a small crew about 3 days a year to keep it healthy).

    I once saw my old gardener (he retired) literally hop off the ladder and stand on top of a tree like that about 3 times as tall to trim the top, no safety belt. My newer gardener uses a bucket truck once every couple of years. Do be careful on that ladder.

    If you come for a visit here, I will set you and him to work together! He studied in America, so speaks some English too.

    I must confess that, despite the image, becoming a Zen teacher did not automatically make me an expert in Japanese gardening, fine calligraphy, pottery, tea and tea ceremony or Kung Fu.

    Your gardens are all lovely. I do not have a pond ...

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    PS- You can see a little of our garden from our outdoor sit a few weeks ago. The stone pagoda replaces a beautiful Japanese "matsu" black pine that had been shaped and formed over about 40 years, but had to be cut down soon after we came here because of a beetle that is killing them worldwide. It was a lesson in impermanence.

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-21-2020 at 10:58 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    A garden changes through time and by season. This photo is a snap shot of one portion of the garden. What struck me (and hence the photo) yesterday was the composition of species flowering at the same time. A view that is impermanent but a moment of changing beauty. Though the snapshot and the lighting do not capture what my eyes saw a few words here may help with what I saw. For a short time the Ocotillo, Desert Willow, Bird of Paradise, Paper Flowers and Prickly Pear Cactus are blooming. The one to note is the Prickly Pear Cactus which does not always bloom profusely...it depends on the timing and amount of winter rains. With the profuse bloom will come many fruits (tunas) which we harvest to make syrup and jelly. Our edible landscape But most will feed the wildlife later this summer especially the Javelina. Even the ones we boil down for the juice are then placed outside as an offering for all that share this land.

    I believe I have always had a strong connection to the natural world. That connection has chosen my path in life, driven my passion to protect and restore it and where I find the most peace. It is where I find my “sitting” so profound. It has chosen where I travel and where I live and in a sense it has chosen my family since I was attracted to another who shares that sense of connection. On another thread we discussed beauty, As a biologist I can explain why things may have evolved and may be the way they are but as discussed that does not define beauty. I like what Anne shared..”Beauty Is” (I think I got the quote correct..if not that was my take home).


    2A44D656-1B3B-4B51-AB46-7A262A1B8775.jpeg

    Doshin
    St

    PS...after posting I realized the resizing tool I use to allow a phot to be shared here not only changed the quality but cropped out a significant part of the story I was sharing. Any technical advice on a tool to use in the future for posting photos is most welcome.
    Last edited by Doshin; 05-21-2020 at 12:33 PM.

  46. #46
    You're right Jundo, it's a real Japanese gardening ladder, imported from Japan. As are the 70 year old Japanese white pines (Hime Komatsu).
    The only thing on the picture, that's not 100% real seems to be me ;-). (no need to repost the 'becoming Japanese' essay, I still remember, trying not to fall in that trap.)

    Those ladders are really stable, while being very lightweight. I've tried others, including wooden, very heavy, three-legged ones that were in use in Germany 100+ years ago.
    The right tool for the job seems to be very important. I am also using Japanese tools for shaping the azalea bushes. The angle of the grips is unique to them and the form is automatically right without thinking.
    Once a year, I have tree-climbing gardeners here for the really large, local trees. They shoot a rope with a crossbow into the crowns and disappear there. I can't even watch them working ;-)

    I'd love helping a bit in your garden, chatting with your gardener. I've seen your beautiful garden in a video with a walk around, you posted.
    Hamburg has a very large Japanese community and while helping to build Japanese influenced gardens, I got to know gardeners, who were trained in Japan and had the chance working together with one for some weeks, too. I've had the chance watching Shiro Nakane, conducting his workers for a day :-).

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  47. #47
    garden-1-TLl.jpg

    Sorry this pic is so small - still struggling to upload images in correct size format. I will keep trying!
    The gardens you have shared are all lovely - every one unique.

    My garden is incredibly important for me - it has been a life saver in times of difficulty and the challenge of being confined due
    to illness/physical disability. It features almost as a character in its own right in a book I wrote.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Jinyo

    sat today
    Last edited by Jinyo; 05-21-2020 at 07:47 PM.

  48. #48
    Attachment 6490

    Can only get this one to upload - the garden has lots of small garden rooms - sitting areas - and summer houses/sheds - I like small enclosed
    areas that have a different feel to them. There are some small wildlife ponds as love to watch frogs and newts.

  49. #49
    Jinyo your garden sounds so intriguing, I'd love to see more. Unfortunately that second attachment isn't working for me, I don't know if anyone else can see it? Doshin, I understand what you are saying here, but yes it's clear that the image has got cropped. Beautiful description makes up for that.

    Regarding sizing images, I'm still clinging to good old Microsoft Paint, not the fancy pants 3D or anything else new, but proper old fashioned Paint. So simple to use for resizing, I use the pixel option and stick to the original ratio, usually setting 800 px as the greater dimension. Works a treat, but to be honest I don't know how available Paint still is. If anyone has any other suggestions please put them here. THere is quite a detailed thread in the tech forum on posting images. I've never managed to post a photo while using my android phone, I always use the PC, which is fine, I can see better what I'm doing. All of my pics are taken on the android and upload automatically to google photos.

    After a bout of rainy days followed by sunshine, our vine is bursting with life. Its sudden and voracious growth takes me by surprise every year - it's as if it happens over night, and feels like it's possible to see the growth daily. I'm always taken with the development of the grapes themselves, the tiny embryonic bunches, the delicate but strong tendrils reaching out for support, it's something miraculous.

    baby grapes 1.jpg

    baby grapes 2.jpg

    vine.jpg

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  50. #50
    Jinyo, I cannot open the second image either. The one that opens promises a splendid garden view. Can you try again to post images? We'd love to see your garden.

    Meitou, of course your images are wonderful. They make me want to curl up under the vine and be washed in that healing green light! Thanks for posting.
    New Mexico has a similar climate to the Mediterranean, with two rainy seasons (if we are lucky) and therefore ideal for growing grapes. The Spanish arrived here in the 16th century and brought with them their grape root stock, and we have been growing grapes here ever since. Longer than any other state in the U.S. We have a healthy wine making industry.
    When my husband and I moved onto this property 33 years ago we planted a grape vine along a front fence. Last week, for the first time I cut it back to reveal its architecture! The main vines are thick as an athlete's thigh. It provides us (and people passing by) with all the grapes we could ever want each fall. I will see if I can get an image and post later.

    Please let us see your gardens. I know that there are wonderful ones out there.

    Thank you Jundo for taking us into your garden!

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

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