Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pre-Day of the Dead + Sunchokes

It's a rainy day in Chicagoland. Pity the poor Trick & Treaters...I am reminded of a Day of the Dead (Nov. 2) which factored significantly in novel I wrote about Guatemala many years ago. More recently, I did spend one of those holidays in the pueblo near where I stay with AFOPADI during my SSG site visits in Guatemala. Yes, there were lots of Calla lilies, plumes of smoke from cigarettes, and alcoholic fumes. But the images I primarily recall are a small metallic radio shiny against the pale, matte stucco of a face-level tomb. And children running across the grave roofs, kites in tow. In those villages: November is the month of Wind... 
To remind us of how compost is essential to our life process, here is a photo taken by my great veggie gardener friend, Bernie. It's from his community garden (which land the city of Evanston is considering selling to a private enterprise)...oh, the curse of Northwestern (as a NPO) not paying property taxes. Nothing is too dear for our municipality to take it off the table.
Anyway, these are Jerusalem artichokes or Sunchokes. They are Sunflowers, in the Helianthus genus. I just love these tangled roots. It is what keeps us upright. We should never forget what is beneath our soil.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Color in Another Client's Garden

A long-term client just sent this splash of red; it is Nyssa sylvatica or Tupelo tree. It grew well when I worked on Martha's Vineyard (likes more acidic soil than Chicagoland), but rarely do you see such a fine specimen as this beauty. This tree is also mature enough to demonstrate its horizontal branching, a desirable trait given that few trees here embody that characteristic.
I have learned more about gardening from this client than any other. This is a small section of her larger landscape where she has been generous & knowledgable enough to share a unique collaborative process over many years. With a science background, she has taught me much about chemistry, water, compost, vegetables, pest & diseases, proper planting technique and of course, design. In our dynamic, I have stretched considerably. Of course: that is a gift. So too, her garden: it is a bit like my step-child. I have been privileged to know it intimately, watch it grow & evolve and to love it like my own.
Especially, since "the cobbler's children" applies to my own garden, I am lucky for this client in a multitude of ways. I wish we all had the good fortune of a terrific mentor.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall in a Client's Garden

Leaves, leaves!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Arthur Siegel and Ellen Soffer

My long-standing friend, Ellen Soffer, recently sent me this photo of my dad's from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Below, you can see it and its caption. As well, an image from a painting (my first art purchase)I bought from Ellen in 1984. For several years in the 80s, wherever I hung that painting: that was home. Check out her website; Ellen is the real deal.