Monday, February 5, 2018

Why Have a Garden or Plants Inside

How to write about putting a Garden Design together?  Seriously, how?  After several attempts, writing for my first book's publisher, beyond horrid, I knew what to do.  Write about Garden Design in the same manner of every class I've ever taught in the Horticulture program at the local college, and Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Decades experience with those.
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In addition, this has never been mentioned outside my innermost tribe, choose what biblical scholars have chosen since the bible was written, obsess over a single word.  In a secular manner, of course. 
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At the front end I knew Garden Design, in your personal realm, held a huge gift to wield, selfishness.  That front end lasted almost 2 decades.  Epiphany arrived.  Selfishness, was the wrong word.  Correct word?  Grace.  Amusing.
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Personally, another word, for my own garden and gardening, presented, atonement.  Not religious, more literal, at-one-with.
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Studying historic landscapes across Europe for decades, many were estates with acreage.  Plenty of scope-for-the-imagination transposing their Garden Designs to subdivisions in USA.  Ironically, all, began as farms.
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Time passed, partaking historic world Garden Design for suburban USA, a layer, without awareness, learned.  Combining agriculture with ornamental horticulture.  This epiphany made me laugh out loud.  USA colleges, in their wisdom, separate the agriculture school from the ornamental horticulture school, Providence never has, never will.  Does this really matter?  Think, dead bees.  Won't go beyond this at the moment, quite its own rabbit hole, and we're already in a different rabbit hole.       

Lutyens Bench in Lush Setting | Landscape & Architectural Design: Arabella Lennox-Boyd
Pic, above, here.
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Scrolling thru pinterest yesterday, came across, above.  First thought, that's MY garden.  Designed, exact garden for myself decades ago, in the backyard of my 30 year home.  (Posted in earlier posts.)  Learned this style, Tara Turf Stone Terrace, while in Europe.  Fell, hard, pure putty.  This style Garden Design, above, not understood, in the macro, in USA.
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Southern Living magazine came to shoot that garden twice thru the years.  A day before they arrived, the second time, wasband, decided to help.  When I discovered his 'help' I let out a cry, nothing emerged but spit.  Tried again for voice, none, pure spit.  Knew to walk inside the house I was so mortified, not comprehending.  If he had tried to sabotage me, a life's work, he could not have chosen a better method. 
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My garden, same as above, was entirely pruned of its rustic backdrop hedge.  Gone, poof, over a decade of growing it to Garden Design perfection.  Guess what replaced that rustic backdrop hedge?  The side of my neighbor's home, mere feet away.  Spit?  Miracle I didn't stoke.  Wasband thought the RUSTIC HEDGE was garbage and I was lazy for letting it appear?  Part of a master plan I awaited years for. 
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There is patience, impatience, and, tarapatience which can go either way.
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Will move along, getting irritated just writing this terrible story.
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A few years ago, pinterest again, found this garden, below.  Stopped me flat.  Who did this?  Never, anywhere, country/continent, seen this Garden Design, below, excepting one place, my own garden.  I must meet this person, kindred spirit. 
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Vanity Fair shot this pic, it was within an article about Bunny Mellon, here.  Had never heard of her.  Looked up everything I could after seeing her garden.  Zero disappointment, instead, learning and epiphanies. 

 A birdhouse and pots of citrus. August 2010 Portfolio Inside Bunny Mellon’s Estate Photographs by Jonathan Becker
Pic, above, here.
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Both gardens, above, have the same layer of Garden Design.  Crazy rare in USA.  Do you intuit this layer, know what it is?  Hint, it's the missing link between Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture. 
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More, it's the original Sustainable.  Further, it's the original Organic.  In addition, it's the original Eco.  Have I missed any words of horticultural commerce since 1960, aka filthy lucre?
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Head's up, Providence has no ornamental horticulture.  It's all Agriculture.  Remember my choice to obsess over single words?  Notice the capital letters.  Sure, learned a lot across Europe in historic gardens for decades.  Epiphanies from that learning arrived across decades working in my own garden.  Working?  Never worked a day in my garden.  Pure washing-of-the-servants-feet.
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What is this layer of Garden Design, pics above?  Pollinator habitat. 
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Gardening this way requires zero irrigation, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides.  Big Whoop, as one of my dearest WWII veterans liked to say.  Best Big Whoop ever, gardening this way increases agricultural crop yields by 80%.  Do the math.  Now do a bit of Johnny Cash, Meditate on it.
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After decades of Gardening, realized, to me, crazy-who-cares-whatever, but I still think it, the bible is the word of G*d written by man.  Nature is the word of G*d written by G*d.  Zero will to push this thinking upon you.  If G*d not your 'deal' fine, Nature is a pure science, as is Garden Design.  Garden Design is no will-o'-the-wisp. 
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From other realms, finding more words, better, describing thoughts transformed into literal experience.
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"Our culture doesn’t think storytelling is sacred; we don’t set aside a time of year for it. We don’t hold anything sacred except what organized religion declares to be so. Artists pursue a sacred call, although some would buck and rear at having their work labeled like this. Artists are lucky to have a form in which to express themselves; there is a sacredness about that, and a terrific sense of responsibility. We’ve got to do it right. Why do we have to do it right? Because that’s the whole point: either it’s right or it’s all wrong."  Ursula Le Guin
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"History is one way of telling stories, just like myth, fiction, or oral storytelling. But over the last hundred years, history has preempted the other forms of storytelling because of its claim to absolute, objective truth. Trying to be scientists, historians stood outside of history and told the story of how it was. All that has changed radically over the last twenty years. Historians now laugh at the pretense of objective truth. They agree that every age has its own history, and if there is any objective truth, we can’t reach it with words. History is not a science, it’s an art."  Ursula Le Guin
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Several years after discovering Bunny Mellon's gardening, I came to understand her topiaries.  Topiaries sprinkled throughout her interiors, and gardens.  She copied the idea of topiaries, and their shapes, from ancient Romans.  Made it her own.  More, shared with all.  With an eye to 'see'.
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"Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day- like writing a poem or saying a prayer."  Anne Morrow-Lindbergh
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A garden view you've created, from inside your home, is the same, to me, as Anne Morrow-Lindbergh discovered arranging a bowl of flowers.  Inherently the same, I think, Bunny Mellon thought of her topiaries, and garden.
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"One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture, and part of an artist’s job is to go into those areas and come back from the silence with something to say. It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When we read good poetry, we often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel."  Ursula Leguin
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Had an aunt that liked to say, often, Life cannot be lived without art.  Loved her, thought her eccentric, time passed, I know she is wise.
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"Storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want, too. If we never find our experience described in poetry or stories, we assume that our experience is insignificant."  Ursula Le Guin
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Oddly, have discovered the opposite, about 'insignificant'.  Not in a good way......We assume that our experience is significant if we don't see/read about it elsewhere.  For Garden Design, proof is rampant throughout continents & centuries & cultures, ugly landscapes, landscapes that don't perform, landscapes that kill bees & poison ground water etc.
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Terminally Unique, phrase I learned in a group Lois formed for friends/family of alcoholics.  Until going into that Lois group I was Terminally Unique.  Blessedly, 1st meeting, got the memo.  Not Terminally Unique, merely collateral damage to the alcoholic in my life.  Significant, insignificant, words matter.  Once realization hit, bigly, about being collateral damage, it changed my life.  Anger & expectations left the room.  Once you lose being Terminally Unique, you realize it's been a wild ride having your fur rubbed off, maybe losing an eye, part of a foot, poof, Velveteen Rabbit, you've been loved into being real. 
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Nothing in Garden Design is original.  Nothing.  Over 11,000 years of Garden Design history, and literature, it's been done before.  More, why not choose to work with the greats?  I do.  Copy, it's the first rule of Garden Design. 
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Humorous reading yesterday morning.  Sunday early, cold, sitting by the fire, reading for pleasure, only the cats for company, sun awakening thru 2 walls of windows.  Discovering, more proof of not being original.  Me.  Not original.  Deeply pleasing, sublime.  Pure at-one-with-atonement.
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"We ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far."  Neils Bohr
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"That is why I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as “objective” and “subjective” are, a great liberation of thought. The whole thing started with the theory of relativity. In the past, the statement that two events are simultaneous was considered an objective assertion, one that could be communicated quite simply and that was open to verification by any observer. Today we know that “simultaneity” contains a subjective element, inasmuch as two events that appear simultaneous to an observer at rest are not necessarily simultaneous to an observer in motion. However, the relativistic description is also objective inasmuch as every observer can deduce by calculation what the other observer will perceive or has perceived. For all that, we have come a long way from the classical ideal of objective descriptions."  Neils Bohr
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" In quantum mechanics the departure from this ideal has been even more radical. We can still use the objectifying language of classical physics to make statements about observable facts. For instance, we can say that a photographic plate has been blackened, or that cloud droplets have formed. But we can say nothing about the atoms themselves. And what predictions we base on such findings depend on the way we pose our experimental question, and here the observer has freedom of choice. Naturally, it still makes no difference whether the observer is a man, an animal, or a piece of apparatus, but it is no longer possible to make predictions without reference to the observer or the means of observation. To that extent, every physical process may be said to have objective and subjective features. The objective world of nineteenth-century science was, as we know today, an ideal, limiting case, but not the whole reality. Admittedly, even in our future encounters with reality we shall have to distinguish between the objective and the subjective side, to make a division between the two. But the location of the separation may depend on the way things are looked at; to a certain extent it can be chosen at will."  Neils Bohr
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Maria Popova, quoting Ursula Le Guin, moves on to Neils Bohr, in her Brain Pickings yesterday, adding, "This, Bohr notes, is why the language of objectivity doesn’t belong in religious rhetoric — religion and its pluralities are best understood, and best applied to human life as an instrument of moral enrichment rather than one of dogmatic constriction, through the lens of complementarity:"
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"The fact that different religions try to express this content in quite distinct spiritual forms is no real objection. Perhaps we ought to look upon these different forms as complementary descriptions which, though they exclude one another, are needed to convey the rich possibilities flowing from man’s relationship with the central order."  Neils Bohr
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Maria Popova goes on to write, " Bohr considers whether or not the tenets of religion can similarly offer useful abstractions, even though they are not to be taken as objective truth:

In mathematics we can take our inner distance from the content of our statements. In the final analysis mathematics is a mental game that we can play or not play as we choose. Religion, on the other hand, deals with ourselves, with our life and death; its promises are meant to govern our actions and thus, at least indirectly, our very existence. We cannot just look at them impassively from the outside. Moreover, our attitude to religious questions cannot be separated from our attitude to society. Even if religion arose as the spiritual structure of a particular human society, it is arguable whether it has remained the strongest social molding force through history, or whether society, once formed, develops new spiritual structures and adapts them to its particular level of knowledge. Nowadays, the individual seems to be able to choose the spiritual framework of his thoughts and actions quite freely, and this freedom reflects the fact that the boundaries between the various cultures and societies are beginning to become more fluid. But even when an individual tries to attain the greatest possible degree of independence, he will still be swayed by the existing spiritual structures — consciously or unconsciously. For he, too, must be able to speak of life and death and the human condition to other members of the society in which he’s chosen to live; he must educate his children according to the norms of that society, fit into its life. Epistemological sophistries cannot possibly help him attain these ends. Here, too, the relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. In that sense, religion helps to make social life more harmonious; its most important task is to remind us, in the language of pictures and parables, of the wider framework within which our life is set."  Neils Bohr
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Humbling to have experienced the conversations, above, practicing the art of Garden Design, garden writing, and gardening.  Finally, to the point, the experience of a Garden, gardening, or topiaries inside, is a conversation.  Whether you think so or not.   Don't have the garden you want?  Take your conversation, between you/your garden to a new level, 2nd order thinking to be exact.
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From Shane Parrish at Farnum Street,
“Second-Order Thinking
In his exceptional book, The Most Important ThingHoward Marks hits on the concept of second-order thinking, which he calls second-level thinking.
First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it (a bad sign for anything involving an attempt at superiority). All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted.
Second-order thinkers take into account a lot of what we put into our decision journals. Things like, What is the range of possible outcomes? What’s the probability I’m right? What’s the follow-on? How could I be wrong?
The real difference for me is that first-order thinkers are the people that look for things that are simple, easy, and defendable. Second-order thinkers push harder and don't accept the first conclusion.” Here, Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform
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All I wanted was a pretty garden.  What a ride.  Bull is still bucking.  Hanging on, loving it.
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Karl Jung, "Our lives are about getting the inside to match the outside."  
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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