Untangling My Chopsticks

“As my grandmother discovered long ago, the Japanese excel in cultivating nature. Their gardens come in numerous styles, including paradise gardens, dry-landscape gardens, stroll gardens, and tea gardens. Although each type has its own goal, tray all share the same principle: nature is manipulated to create a miniature symbolic landscape.
A paradise garden is meant to evoke the Buddhist paradise through the use of water dotted with stone “islands.” Dry-landscape gardens, usually tucked away in Zen temples, use dry pebbles and stones to create minimalist views for quiet contemplation. Stroll gardens offer changing scenes with every step, a pool of carp here, a mossy trail there, and a small bridge to link them both, while a tea garden provides a serene path to take you from the external world to the spiritual one of the teahouse.”

― Victoria Abbott Riccardi

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A Garden Is Its Own Universe

Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

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A Privileged Space

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ― Michael Pollan

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How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting? 

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

Everything in nature is early this year.

My flowering trees are flowering whole year! And deciduous plants become evergreen! Even my sage survived the frost and snow but died when the sun hit it during those exceptional winter days that felt and looked like late Spring or early Summer.

How can be a potential disaster looks so inviting?

That’s why perhaps no one except a few think the seriousness of global warming?

It’s nice to see plants waking up this early and those that never sleeps is like balm to the wounds during cold dreary dark winter days but still…

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A Garden Enigma

I have a landscaped beautiful garden in my suburban home. Though it is done by a professional, I can’t help adding my personal touch to it, making it the cottage garden I adore and love but on a minimalistic side. There are still lots of blooms, but they are contained in specific spaces. The landscaper planted few key elements in clumps like Hydrangea Macrophylia, Spiraea Japonica ‘golden princess’ Some Buxus clouds by the front door, Choysia Ternata on the side gate and pachysandra terminalis as a ground cover. Oh, there is a lone  Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ at the front. There are also few trees suited for small-ish gardens like Cornus Kousa, Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and a couple of Acers and three others I can’t recognize. I added a lot more since then.

There is a Hydrangea Petiolaris climbing on three poles by the right side of the house and a huge pergola at the very back of the garden covered with Wisteria. Directly by the kitchen door, there is a kitchen garden with three small pear trees and five different sizes of wooden vat planted with Mediterranean herbs. There are Lavander in some corner front and back, hardy Geraniums I can’t kill no matter what, a border of roses and one Hydrangea Quercifolia. Ah, I remember there is a large clump of Liriope muscari ‘Moneymaker’ also, and that was it.

The first thing I did when we moved to the place is to rip out the expensive real looking pseudo turf by the bay window at the front of the house and put a mixed border. You know… Delphinium, Asters; Monarda, Liatris, Phlox, Japanese anemone, ligularia dentata Desdemona and Othelo, Heucheras, Astrantia and such. I planted around the box clouds on the right side the same mix, they are under a small(?) grafted tree I don’t recognize. I think it is some Cherry Laurel on a stick, has white flowers with a subtle smell. The Buxus clouds suffered the heatwave this year so I dug them up and put them under the three towering Acers by the gate to recuperate and replaced them with a mixed border to mirror the left side under the bay window. This time I added Verbena, sedum (I doted them throughout the borders around the house too) Agapanthus, Rudbeckias, and Echinaceas. I added also some Valerian which seeded everywhere since then and bay leaves trees in the kitchen garden.

Did I mention there is an ornamental bubbling pond next to the circular terrace directly outside the bay french window in the living room? When we bought the place (which is a model/show house of excellent quality) there was only one kind of flower around it, Rudbeckia. I planted Echinacea, Verbena, some grasses, creeping sedum, and Crocosmia. D. Had his choice of water plants. No fish. I don’t do annuals unless they self-seed like Digitalis (by far my most favorite flower) forget-me-nots, Marigolds, Cosmos, and this year Hollyhocks because D. Not gardening not interested D. Decided he wants Hollyhocks. 

For all the beauty of the garden and all the hours I put beautifying and tending it we never use it.

I don’t know why.

We have a romantic bistro/Mediterranean inspired powder pink garden set directly next to the kitchen door by the kitchen garden in the view of the pond. There is a complete three-piece lounge set by the pond shaded by a huge umbrella, there is a big wooden bench under the pergola, and there are lounge beds around the garden but like my spare rooms in the house, they are museum pieces. Nobody uses them. I don’t go out in the garden unless to work, nothing else. Our front garden inside the first gate has a place for at least five cars but it is another lost space. Somewhere to traverse from the gate to the front door, that’s it.

I often wonder and ask myself why we don’t go out in the garden to relax. The only thing I could come with is the noise of the busy traffic outside the gate. Something we never anticipated when we bought the place. We heard the noise day and night and we don’t like it. Although there is a lot of space between our house and the actual road and there are double privacy hedges and trees still it’s not relaxing. If I can uproot the house and put it somewhere quiet I already did by now. I am willing to move one last time if I find a place that will make our current residence a second best but seven years of searching brings me nowhere and the longer it takes, the prospect of moving again doesn’t hold the same allure anymore for me. And my condition doesn’t make it easy either. 

I don’t know what we gonna do but in the meantime, I will enjoy (looking at) my garden from behind closed windows.

Next time I will tell you about a garden we do use.