Friday, February 27, 2009

Pruning Season

We have been pruning this week, a task that is much easier to do when the leaves are off the trees and shrubs and the structure of the plant can be seen. Time to clear out the deadwood. Cut out crossing branches,  last years spent flowers, and strengthen the structure and form of the branching for future growth and abundance. 

It can be painful work. We tackled a flowering quince this week that was generations old and never been pruned. We removed more than half of the older stems from the base, so crowded, it was difficult to get a saw or pruners in to cut! Quince have painful thorns. this is probably why the  gangly species so seldom get any pruning attention from gardeners, even though it is recommended to thin every year. But once the task was done, an open vase shaped appearance was so much improved! Just in time for flowering.  

Sometimes I think that good pruning is the most ignored part of maintaining a garden. It is a thankless task, usually done at a bleak and gloomy time of year. Most would rather stay inside with a good book, if given a choice.... it is just easier to clip the tops on a warm spring day and turn something into a meatball or a square. Clearing out the old and unproductive from the inside out can make all the difference in the world.

Since I use gardening as a metaphor for life, it is interesting to watch our government begin the process of trying to prune and shape budgets,  cut out the deadwood and that which does not bear fruit.   It will be a tough and thankless job there as well.

On a personal level what in our own life needs pruning, restructuring and cleaning up? I am sure there is plenty...I am going to start with a good spring cleaning of my house and garden. I have only lived here for 2 years and I can not believe how much stuff accumulates...and I don't even buy stuff, I asked people not to give me knick knacks a long time ago~ 
So clear out and clean up is my mantra these days. 

I have been observing this strange little bud swelling on my slope. I have no idea what it is. It doesn't look like any other narcissus bud in the garden, but the leaves are similar.
Last Easter I brought home a lot of bulbs, from friends, and the offspring from an old bed at the nursery.  

It will fun to see what shows up from the strays I brought home. As you can see I still have a lot of leaf raking to do.

We have also started restoring a walkway in Wilkesboro, as it was eroding and actually dangerous to walk on it was so disrupted. We improved the grade by adding two steps. We are reusing the original stone, which is a bit too thin for a solid walkway, but now the stones are packed in stone dust and will be much more stable. We may plant Roman Chamomile in a few of the cracks.  

It is good to back at work with Finn. He has spent the last month at a building site over the hill where the construction workers throw the stick and ball for him all day. He needed a crew of boys for sure, all I did was paint, so boring for the brown fuzzy lab.  I go pick him up at 4:00 when the crew quits for the day, or when ever I have to go somewhere.  He comes home happy and exhausted. The crew knows who I am and we share Finn well. I have no heart to confine him to our wee half acre wood with the electric fence. Big plus...he did not get fat this winter~

They did bring him home one evening when they stayed late to pour concrete, no lab paw prints on the new churches front stoop please. Now that the building is enclosed, they even let him in to follow the crews inside. I notice they don't do that with the other 3 neighborhood dogs who are there everyday as well.

Everybody loves Finn. He loves everybody. He has a very good life. So do I, even if I come hope hands bleeding, sore muscles, and chilled to the bone, I love my job.

Wednesday, we worked on the Ripshin Dairy farm, pruning. All the baby goats are being born. We got to play with 40 little newborns, all dressed in little sweatshirts to keep them warm. I tried to get some photo's but by the time I finished work for the day, they were all napping. I didn't want to disturb them or the nervous moms.
Like I said....I love my job. Everyday is an adventure.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sacred Geometry

You know I've been couped up too much inside when I begin studying sacred geometry again.  

This winter I have found myself struggling with composition.
As a gardener and a learning painter I am aware of the use of golden proportions in nature, art, architecture and landscaping. It is something I intuitively use all the time, and have studied it for years, but recently I had a light bulb moment when I heard someone explaining the geometry in terms of quantum physics.

The light bulb went on when I heard the words "Geometry creates resonance....60 degree angles represent the hyper dimension, where things are perceived beyond this dimension."

I immediately related to my thesis in college entitled 'What Makes a Garden Beautiful".

In my paper, I researched the use of sacred geometry in the creation of histories most well known and timeless gardens.  I wrote this paper because when I visit a garden designed from these principles I am instantly transported out of now modern urban time and float in the beauty of all time and no time. You can feel the shift in these ancient places, when you enter, something divine is going on and you know it. 

I know I've hit the mark in my own garden creations when people zip into a dimension of delight, relax, giggle, play or just wander around in awe. 

Here is a snip from my term paper relating to the use of sacred geometry in the English Landscape gardens of the early 1700's. 

This paper covered the whole history of sacred geometry from the Parthenon to the US Air Force Academy, but I won't bore you with all that. 

The landscape garden was conceived in England between 1710 and 1730—that is, during the period of the European Enlightenment, which coincides with the role of Freemasonry in England and Europe.  Many landlords and intellectuals of the eighteenth century were freemasons.  Among them were famous people of the period.  The writer Alexander Pope, Edward Harley, the Earl of Chesterfield, James Addison, Richard Steele, Jonathan Swift, James Thomson, Lord Burlington, Lord Cobham, William Stuckley, Lord Montague, and Voltair.  It is at this point in its history that Freemasonry develops as a focus for intellectuals, politicians, the gentry, artists and architects, and fosters a continuous exchange of ideas, aesthetic values and beliefs between English and European intellectuals.  Freemasons believed in virtue, progress, equality, and they contributed to the ideology for the late eighteenth century democratic revolutions.

These Enlightenment ideals (tolerance, equality, universalism, civic duty, natural religion, and morality) were also reflected in the use of iconography and design in the early English landscape garden.   During that time the intellectuals who belonged to or had links with this secret society were also responsible for the developments in the arts including landscape architecture, so it is important to understand the relationship between Freemasonry and the early 18th century English landscape garden.   Freemasonry carried mystical overtones and origins dating back to the Middle Ages.  Medieval stonemasons were called "freemasons" since they were not bound to a guild in any specific city but were forced to wander from place to place where churches were erected.  Thus the design principles of the freemasons spread far and wide across Europe and into America.

Two common elements of these works on Masonic history are the reference to God as the Great Architect of the Universe and the definition of the seven liberal arts which are grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, arithmetic, astronomy, harmony and geometry, with a heavy emphasis on geometry, which was considered to be the source of knowledge, an art which had the potential to re-create the Divine in building.


I love that recreating the divine stuff! I also love the words virtue, progress, equality, tolerance, universalism, civic duty, natural religion, and morality.  I think I will meditate on these as I putter and paint and practice the art of re creating the divine. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Light Changing

I normally paint botanicals, but in February nothing is blooming and I have no desire to sketch bouquets of store bought roses and carnations. So I have been sketching and painting birds, dogs and children. A stretch for me...but fun to try. 

I do a little better with birds than dogs and children. The body proportions are difficult for a dork like me, but I want to be able to paint my grandchildren as they come along. 

I took a photo of Finn last summer, laying on the porch with his ball in the hope that I would stop gardening long enough to throw it for him. He is so beautiful I wish I could do him justice.  I am painting this sketch as well, but not thrilled with it. Painting dog fur in watercolor is a big challenge. There is so much going on in that pile of brown fluff. 

I am also feeling the need to get my kitty on the white paper too before he heads over the rainbow. He is over 20 years old, and the most beautifully marked Siamese tabby mix I have ever seen. I love his blue eyes, pink nose and raccoon striped tail.  He doesn't photograph well, and even in his sleep he moves that will be a challenge.

Yesterdays challenge was this sketch of my granddaughter toodling near a garden bench. 

I will work on this some more today, I want so badly to get the right look of busy curiosity in her face. 

In the meantime I am watching the old world crumble and the new world gestate with hope and joy at the transformation that is taking place.  I know transition is always uncomfortable, but transformation always follows.  It is the constant spiral of Ascension.  We just made a leap from tradition, the world watched as a new President was inaugurated, millions gathered in peace to celebrate and sing a song of joy.  Now, a time of transition, depending on how long we drag our feet in fear until we manifest transformation.  How exciting!
Personally I am visioning a financial system that is not based on debt.  That would truly be freedom from slavery wouldn't it?  I have been seeing future paintings of mine of crumbling super malls, with magical trees sprouting from the ruins.  I sure wish I had the capabilities now to paint some of these images as beautifully as I see them in my minds eye.....but I am working on it daily, in small ways with small things.