Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gardens: Nature vs. Nurture

It's so difficult to tell the real from the unreal, what's for sale, what's for free, what's "natural" and what's artifice, and cultivation, lately.  You can enjoy both a park and a nursery for free.  Is one "real" nature, and the other, "fake?"  At the moment, my mother gets more enjoyment from the "fake" because the "real" waterfall is too hard for her to get to.

Coal Creek Falls, Bellevue, WA
Down to Earth Nursery, Eugene, OR

Here is a sculpture by Julie Spiedel in the City Hall gardens, downtown Bellevue, WA:

It's my favorite sculpture in the City, and I was reminded of it on a recent visit to my favorite plant nursery:

Wells Medina Nursery, Bellevue, WA

Perhaps there is no "real', no "fake".  Perhaps it is all just a matter of art or advertising, as in a game we used to play with the kids...we would drive past something and ask, "Is it art or is it advertising?"  I know it came from my father's wife, Elizabeth, herself an artist of nature.  Click here to see more of her work on her website.

Sea of Tranquility

Ancient Light

Beth's work is haunting, painstaking and extremely beautiful.  Well-worthy of comtemplation.  In fact, I would love to do several blog entries just about her.  But...another day.

I really wanted to talk about my newly-found friend again, Sarah Horton, and her allotment garden in Liverpool, England.  Allotments are like p-patch gardens, which I've written about in these pages.  On the other hand they're very different.  For now, I just want you to enjoy a visit to Sarah's garden, and save the politics and history for another time.  Sarah, a fiber artist, film-maker, writer and certified horticulturist (in addition to many other things) incorporates who she is into her garden.  This is truly gardening for the soul.  Thank you, Sarah, for sharing it with me.

Sarah in her poly-tunnel

Sarah starting a fire with her flint

Inside her garden shed, complete with...

Fairy lights that really work

Sarah's Garden:  "Arrangement 1"

Sarah's Garden: "Arrangement 2"

Sarah's Garden:  "Arrangement 3"

Sarah's Garden:  "Arrangement 4"

Sarah's Garden: " Arrangement 5 (Masks)"

Sarah's Garden:  "Arrangement 6 (Oners)"

Sarah's Garden: "Arrangement 7  (Succulents)"

When I returned from my travels a month ago, I headed over to my father's garden in Indianola.  What a difference to Sarah's!  And yet, I kept finding similarities, as well.  For one thing, the focus is on contemplation, not production per se.  There are collections, arrangements, accomodations.  Dad built his house here with great respect for the existing land and flora.  Gradually, over many years, he has found his way to gardening with nature.
Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 1"

Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 2"

Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 3 (Mondo and Mara)"

Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 4 (Chairs)"
Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 5 (Path 1)"

Dad's Garden: "Arrangement 5 (Path 2)"

Dad's Garden:  "Arrangement 6 (Ferns)"

The day after visiting my father, I walked my dog up to Coal Creek Falls.  It is here that I've done all my most productive thinking and peaceful meditation for the last 20 years.  For the first time, I'm asked to contemplate something.   A rope fence, which Stella cheerfully ignores, separates a patch of ground from the trail.

Things are not as "real" here as I thought.  

 It turns out that this is an art installation highlighting Cougar Mountain's history of extracting natural resources.   The artist is from Basel, his name is Hans Baumann, and the work of art is called "Black Forest (29,930,00 Tons)".  It uses "bio-char"and asks us to envision the ash planted on the site as a proposal for carbon sequestration. Over time, they are asking that 29,930,000 tons of CO2 be sequestered here.  This is the amount emitted over the 100 years of mining on this site.    

Hans Baumann installation at Cougar Mountain here
and here
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Area, Bellevue, WA
On Tumblr

Hans Baumann installing "Black Forest"