Continuing in the theme of old, medium format film photos that I recently had developed is this roll I took at Brian Bixley’s Lilactree Farm in June 2010. Here is a post that I made way back when of some of the many digital photos I took that day.
(Lots more photos below the fold.)
I recently had an assortment of old film developed (recently being tonight) and one of those rolls contained photos that I took last January at Rancho la Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.
I wrote a reflections post for 2010, and thought it would be good to end this year in the same way, especially since it gives me the opportunity to revisit some experiences that I did not cover very thoroughly.
[This photo and at top of page] My garden in September 2011.
I started the year with a new D.I.Y grow-light system, more seedlings than I could handle, and a sloping bowling alley of scrubby grass and weeds that I hoped to transform into a garden. As a testament to my stubbornness and determination, I somehow managed (with a lot of help from Davin) to pull it off amidst finishing the editing, photography, and design of my third book, traveling to Thailand, working on a potential TV show, and other deadlines. I was so excited about the space I was out there any chance I could get, often until it go so dark that I couldn’t see anymore. I love having this new garden. It’s the best thing about 2011 and I can’t wait to get back out there in the spring to see what comes of the bulbs and perennial plantings, work on refining the overall layout, and discover a new year of wonders and experiments.
These last few months of the year have been trying and spiritually exhausting. I’m burned out and feel like a shell of my former self. It is for the first time that I find myself really relishing the idea of a year’s end and starting from a renewed and fresh perspective in January. More than ever I hope to walk into the new year feeling revitalized and ready to take on some of the ideas and adventures I’d like to work on in 2012. As you read this post, we are either on our way to or have arrived in the desert, where we will be enjoying some much-needed respite from the cold.
Friends, I’m going to touch, see, and be in the desert soon!!!!!! There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to express my enthusiasm.
Update: The winner is Manju. Congrats!
Another post was intended for today, but in light of a recent (and disturbing) disparately located online thread that suggests that garden writers should stick to sunshine and roses and leave out the “negative” stuff, I have decided to switch gears and reintroduce a book I have discussed at length in the past, “My Garden (Book)” by Jamaica Kincaid.
Ms. Kincaid is a fierce writer, one of a handful whose words and courage I turn to when my footing has slipped and I need some examples of women who know how to speak their mind. My god, that woman speaks her mind with such power and force and nary a sign of apology. I need to know, and read about these women. Women who do not tow the line. The ones who are not happy rolling over, or painfully etching away at their character in order to serve the status quo. I want to tackle my fears in the best way that I can, with all the resolve I can forge, and walk into those scary places with them, behind them, beside them, wherever, as long as it is not chained in silence to a white picket fence by fear. Gardening is a part of human culture. We are fallible, messy, beautiful, miserable, and everything under the sun. It only stands to reason that the cultures we create carry all of us within them, for better and for worse. To say that one should stick to gardening is saying that one should write about everything and anything related to growing plants, because everything that is in us is in it.
That Jamaica Kincaid is also an avid gardener who can lovingly and tenderly walk that line between both sides of the spectrum and everything in between is a testament to her skill as a writer. She can express the obsessive horticultural longings and compulsions us plantaholics share, while also delving deep into the depths of gardening’s not-so-pretty side, especially as it relates to human history.
I recently came across a copy of her book “My Garden (Book)” and since I love it so much, decided to buy it to share as a giveaway to an interested reader. To be entered feel free to share some of your own favourite women writers (gardening or otherwise) or simply leave a comment expressing your interest to be entered. I’ll pick a name at random on Tuesday, Sept 6.
The large inflorescence in the background of this photo belongs to Agave parryi, an agave that can be hardy to -18C (according to “High and Dry: Gardening with Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants” by Robert Nold), depending on the growing conditions. Recently, I have been learning about some of the hardier agaves and was pleased to see a few at the Denver Botanic Gardens that were not only over-wintered outdoors, but in bloom.