“The ongoing relationship of a human being with a certain plot of ground is at its heart a romance, for to garden honestly is to fall in love, in love with the rhythms and miracles of nature, in love with life itself.” Scott Ogden, The Moonlit Garden
The Larson Garden
Over the years we have created a garden. Our life’s path has allowed us to be gardening together on our little patch of earth since 1977. The small olive trees we planted then are now tall and lush creating beautiful shade. During the years we have added the usual things, a birdhouse, pretty stones, many, many flower pots, tables, chairs, a bench and arbor, we did what one does to make the space comfortable, inviting and beautiful. We mowed the lawn, planted roses, watched them die and then tried other things. We worked many companionable hours planting and trimming. We enjoyed hours of delight by just being there, being outside together. We shared many a dinner on the patio, cooking delicious food on the grill. Many meals we shared with friends and then lingering on, talking long into the evening.
Where better to relax and unwind than right outside one’s own back door? So we have worked to make this space our own and the place to welcome friends and family. It is a place of heart felt connection, of happiness and joy.
Gardening in one place for 36 years, you can accumulate a bit more than the garden can grow. I love so many plants and try earnestly to find a home for each and every one.
Rich likes to build stuff; in steel, wood and sometimes a combination of the two. Many of those things have been made for the garden. We travel the world exploring beautiful gardens, getting ideas from the wonderful features. We seem to have no shortage of ideas, as evidenced by Rich’s creative assortment that hems the edges of our lawn.
This year Rich built a celebration bell for our 40th wedding anniversary. This is not just a small bell that one could mount on a post or railing. Not only is it impressively heavy, it has a beautiful tone when struck with a wooden mallet. The design incorporates a steel wire frame filled with polished green stones. This project presented many challenges, but the biggest one was, we had no place to put it! We needed to decide on a location before the wire cage was filled with rock since we wouldn’t be able to move it. We had to decide on just the right place. So we set it up temporarily and thought about what we should do.
I suggested that we redesign the garden to highlight the wonderful pieces of art he has created. Rich didn’t like calling his work art, since he isn’t trained as an artist, it is just the “stuff” he builds. Still, I insisted, it is lovely work and needed a more prominent role in the garden.
Rich suggested we redesign the garden so we could get my multitude of potted plants off the patio so he would have room to walk. The idea of tearing apart our wonderful garden to create something new was not an easy feeling. We had to let go of what we had to gain something new. The view outside our window would change.
We forged ahead and over the past several months our garden has changed. The celebration bell is now the center focal point of our garden filled with art and flowers. Surrounding the small plaza are brick paths leading through the flowers and past many of the art elements Rich made.
Would you like a tour?
Our Garden Gate
The Garden Shed
Hearts & Flowers
Arbor & Bench
Etagere’ Plant Stand
Pencils, our most creative tool!
Our Celebration Bell
Many new plants have been added with the primary purpose of attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. There is a bed of scented white flowers surrounding a custom built fountain. The base of the fountain is two white slabs of Indiana limestone found in the Indiana farm land of my childhood home.
There is a yellow bed of flowers selected to survive the intense summer sun. The red bed is a collection of red blooms full of nectar for the hummingbirds which live here year round. The vegetables, herbs and peppermint twist geraniums are still important elements. The one special bed is a celebration of spring with daffodils, grape hyacinths, lady tulips, freesia and iris in both purple and yellow. Seeds are in the ground, the new plants will be growing into their best form for spring.
Change is quite an experience; it can be hard, it can be wonderful and full of surprises. Much of the garden has changed yet it is a redesign of years of nurturing, learning, building and serendipity. This year we gave each other a garden, a garden full of heart, art and flower.
Narrative of the garden redesign experience with photos of the progress.
related story in Roots & Shoots, http://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/mgcentral/uploads/feb_2014_rands.pdf