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Thursday, 31 August 2017 17:06

Plantswoman Into Garden Designer

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After acquiring an American degree in horticulture, educated to be a guy in a truck mowing grass, blowing clippings, siting plants in outcurves/incurves to grow oversized for extra monetizing pruning, needful of fertilizer, chemicals to kill N
ature, and a real nice irrigation system, let's not forget the yearly replenishment of mulch, and twice yearly exchange of colorful annuals, all bundled into a tidy yearly contract, $$$. Hey, who needs more? Me.
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Late 20's when I began decades of European travel, studying historic gardens, I didn't have words to describe what I was seeking, only words describing what I didn't want about gardens, a few above. In lieu of words, I was listening to my heart. Traipsing off, sure of discovery, unaware a pupil of E.M.Forster for sure.
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Blessedly, the first study tour, England & mostly Scotland, I got the memo. More, the memo arrived, narrated by General Patton, aka George C. Scott.


Pic, above, here.
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When I hosted my own garden show on CBS-TV their mantra was, don't-tell-me-SHOW-me.
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Exactly how I learned across Europe. Their historic gardens full of show, and loaded with delightfully intuitive conversation, 'tell', from all the gardeners & owners the sites had the privilege of working with across centuries.
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Quite the example, SHOW, above. About lost all my knee strength seeing this, decades ago. Understanding ALL. Immediately, understanding all. Where that comes from, intuitive understanding, aka epiphany or koan, I metaphor to my Muse. Like it was said toward the end of Dr. Zhivago, 'A gift'.
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In hindsight I went to Europe a horticulturist/plantswoman, returned a Garden Designer. If I was told this would happen, zero chance I would have believed it. None.
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What did I hear General Patton say from all those years ago? "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" Quite the proper image popping into mind. Bombs exploding, Patton winning, he spoke like a warrior, the type I knew. Age 10, seeing the film when it came out at the theater with my family. Dad the NASA engineer made it obvious Patton had nothing on him with language or results. Though, sister/me were deeply impressed at the dinner table one evening, while Chris Craft was director at JSC, dad said, "Chris Craft has the foulest mouth of any man I've met." We silently made knowing eye contact, "We must hear this Chris Craft." Ha, never did. But the awe remains. Amusing, now, when Beloved says, "You can dog cuss." A skill I don't use often, perhaps when the little toe on the right foot is broken standing on the bow of a boat trying to hitch the hook from the hoist inside the boathouse.
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Patton's bombs exploding, from the clip, are pure Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth, slaying the dragon, every scale of its hide a metaphor of "Thou Shalt."
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Why tell these stories, above? These stories are the people hiring me, for decades. People who've intuited their rabbit hole, gone in a little, maybe a great distance, yet for the Thou Shalt's of their lives, not the full distance. Job, children, health, many Thou Shalt's, yet intuiting all, without words, just able to still hear a bit of their distant heart. My life, needing to work for filthy lucre yet a heart unable to stay in the dire depths of Thou Shalt, instead, creating my own job, and taking it. Collateral with infertility, a great wealth of time granted, honoring that gift, jumping into the rabbit hole, seeking & finding what the heart spoke without words.
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Garden & Be Well, XOT
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JOSEPH CAMPBELL (words of Chief Seattle, 1852): “The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky, the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, all are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We’re part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father; the rivers are our brothers. They carry our canoes and feed our children.
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If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. This we know: the earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the earth. All things are connected, like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
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“Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? What will happen when the secret comers of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? The end of living and the beginning of survival. When the last red man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any spirit of my people left? We love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it; care for it as we’ve cared for it, hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it.
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Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all. One thing we know, there is only one God; no man be he red man or white man can be apart. We are brothers, after all.”
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Bold letters mine. The 'dire' I had to run from, choosing to live, not merely survive. Beware of choosing to live, it rocks the boat for others in your life. Bigly.
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Seattle Rockeries creates hardscapes and landscapes using stones, boulders and concrete structures.

Hardscaping creates structures that can be used on slopes and hills to prevent erosion and create water barriers or drainage.