Friday, July 27, 2012

Internal Biochar

There are certain points where I realize that if an objective person were to read my journals from years past they would find cyclical patterns. Euphoria, fascination, sadness, etc. My internal ecology I think has a certain forest pattern that includes the seasons as well as periods of accumulation and then fire where all those accumulated ideas, thoughts and feelings get upcycled into biochar. I think about how certain seeds need fire to germinate - that heat burns off the protective coating and activates the growth process. The seed is then nourished by the rich ash from all that accumulated material.

Always in that regrowth period, there's a certain lyrical nature to the world around me, where I am more aware of the layered realities surrounding me. I am grateful for these periods of re-awakening, to see the world with new eyes again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Central Maine Botanical Gardens

A few weeks ago, my family and I were nearby the Central Maine Botanical Gardens and spent the afternoon exploring its different gardens. I remember visiting the site before anything was there - about 7 years ago, and was astounded by the creativity and work that went into creating such beautiful spaces - from piney Maine woods - which are beautiful in and of themselves.

I was heartened to see the area devoted to gardening for those with mobility challenges. The only other example I had seen of this was at the Chicago botanic garden. The garden beds were around 2.5' - 3' tall and there were spaces inset into the walls for people with wheel chairs so they could reach the beds. I appreciated the attention paid to the walking surface and that there was shade there at mid-day as well. The vistas of the neighboring garden were nice as well - with generous areas to stop and take it all in. From the photos, you can see that I was really interested in the modular planting cages inset into the vertical garden frameworks. It inspiring to think that in tiny spaces and anywhere, there are straight forward options to grow in any plane or space. I think that the way these were constructed was particularly successful - because of the simplicity and elegance of design. I am looking forward to trying some experiments in this vein out myself, and down the road perhaps adding a green roof to our house like the one in the second photo down.

acupressure labyrinth

universally accessible garden with raised beds

modular growing cage

modular growing cage

Vertical garden wall

Vertical garden wall

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shifting Rhythms

An amazing year we're having. Lots of intense sun and aside from the lack of rain over this past month, a great growing year. It's hard to believe that it has only been a year since the garden went in. Already, it seems like the terraces have been there for years - especially considering the robust growth of the plants....Mediterranean in origin plants like the Clary Sage and Hyssop are thriving, and I am amazed at their structure and beauty. Having been a vegetable gardener - with some understanding of culinary herbs, it is wonderful to harvest garden bounty during what was once early in the season. As with the post earlier about the red clover, I knew that there was beauty in the flowers of certain plants, but to have healing in them too is marvelous. I have enjoyed shifting my rhythm in the garden to harvesting and processing earlier and with different methods. Yesterday I made a garden sage, thyme flower and tulsi essential oil - infused honey. Today I caught the tail end of the elder flower season, and made a batch of Elder Flower Fizz starter ( see Darina Allen's the Forgotten Skills of Cooking). We'll see how all these initial attempts come out. In the process though, there's poetry. Taking something that had meaning and beauty to me already and then integrating it into my life in nourishing, new and unexpected ways has pushed my experience of landscape and ecology into a new direction that's more profound and rewarding to me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vegetable Portraits II

Last Sunday, I hung my show at Provisions, a fantastic wine and cheese shop, in Northampton. It will be up for the rest of July. There are some new paintings there as well as some from the initial Vegetable Portrait series. The space there is beautiful, and I think my paintings are quite harmonious with the vibe of the shop. Stop by on Arts Night Out in Northampton, July 13th, from 5-7pm.