Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Garden Ghosts

Some of the greatest delights are found in the inherited bits of garden one encounters over a lifetime, a legacy of spirits and garden ghosts 

Are their ghosts in your garden?  Im happy to say that I share my heritage, both real and remembered, with generations of  gardeners who have gone before me. Family members, friends, some I have never actually met but know from the stories that were told to me-  we are all part of an unbroken line that I now hold the end of - who will I hand it to?

Perhaps there are long-empty raised beds, or the skeleton of a grape arbor, long abandoned. But the bones of a garden someone once loved are there, ghosts if you will, spirits held in time for all who will feel their magic and take up the trowel to carry on . . .

This is the family of Joseph Schneider, the builder of my house. He was listed on public record as having the occupation of "Gardener". He was the first gardener, I am the current one.

As soon as I moved into my “ new” old house it became obvious  that the grounds had  once been the realm of a true gardener. The clues appeared everywhere, the statuesque oaks trees, mature flowering shrubs, the scraggly rose that still hugged the porch post. When our first spring came around the scores of tender shoots and emerging bulbs were a daily treat. Sweet surprises left for my delight by the generations before me.

These girls are having too much fun, and wouldnt I like to have that wheelbarrow ! - They all lived in the house I now call mine, and their spirits remain in the garden that I now tend, carrying on a tradition rooted in  the feel of the earth.

My garden mentor, my grandfather - here in the most dapper outfit ever! I personally never saw him in anything but bib overalls, and I continue to carry that tradition on today - overalls are my favorite attire for gardening or for any creative activity!

And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see - or like a  sealed letter they could not plainly read.

I never saw this garden, but my mother spoke of it all through her life, and her remembrances of this place were so strong and sacred to her. She is sitting here in an arbor with her younger sister.

The gardener was a woman called  "Gusty", a ghost to me but a very real  presence to my mother. Pleasant memories make everything real.

I must close with some seasonal fun - these are some of my favorite garden pals, doing what we love to do at the end of the season - making "Witches Bundles' from herbs and dried grasses.  Created  to hang by the door as protection from the mean spirits of this season, its our way of both honoring and laughing at the ancient traditions of herbal lore, and a good excuse to be outside enjoying Autumn's delights.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall in all it's Finery

This, this! Is Beauty;  cast, I pray, your eyes
On this my Glory! 
These Briliant hues are all distinct and clean . .
 Gorrge Crabbe, The Borough 1810

Since I have begun to study painting I have learned and gained in so many ways, especially in my awareness.I can no longer just look at a beautiful scene briefly, I now need to absorb it. A blue sky will never again be only blue for me, it will instead be a study as I ponder  -  is it cerulean or cobalt I'm seeing, and how does the color change as it meets the horizon.

 Does the gold of the changing leaves look more brilliant against the gray sky or the blue? And the greens, all so very complex, how could I mix my paints to achieve that deep hint of blue I am seeing in the spruce?

 If this sounds like a chore , I assure you it is not - It is a wonderful gift really  to "See" what is around me and before me each day.  With that awareness comes appreciation and gratitude, and ultimately a sense of awe. If I never paint again, I will always have that gift.

There's no better place than a Saturday market to soak up the colors and textures of Autumn

Three French Hens in Morris Illinois was the destination for this weekend!  How Inspiring on a warm October morning

I really should have bought that striped blanket!

Glitter meets Gory!

Talk about seeing the blues in the sky,   Wishing I had a place for this blue leather chair! 

Spotted this fellow sitting patiently outside the shop - I think his wife was still inside trying on clothes, he said he hadnt seen her in hours!

So pick up the phone, call a friend, make a plan for a Fall Field Day of your own, the leaves are falling a little more every day . . . . .

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lessons Of A Late Season Garden

A modest gatden contains, for those who know how to look and wait , more instruction than a library

The mornings are cool and the light has a new clarity these days, the skies a sharper blue.  I feel I need to apologize for the really bad thoughts I have been having for the past month, wishing for the scraggly flower beds to just get it over with! 

My garden is responding with a final encore for me, redeeming itself from the disappointments of August, and reminding me once again to be patient and let life do it's thing. It's exactly what I needed to get my enthusiasm back, and suddenly Im in the mood to make plans for next year.  Let the seed catalogs come!  I'm ready to devour them.

Finally, the moon flower blooms -I thought it would never happen -  now I must add a nightly visit to inhale the unforgetable fragrance.

The anemone offers it's multiple blossoms , graceful and delicate and blooming prolifically.

Who can endure a cabbage bed in October? - Jane Austen
I know this kale is edible, but it's just too beautiful to disturb - I love gazing into the center of the plant - it has all the magic of a kaleidoscope
The nasturtium seems to be happiest now, climbing with wild abandon on the wattle fence.
And of course, mums. Returning from last year in the perennial border.

There is no end to the lessons to be learned from a garden, if only the student is willing. It is truly one of my finest teachers.

With Paper and Paint