Much of my time is spent writing or reading about the things which interest me. No, it’s not always trade-related, although I absolutely can’t leave a newly-discovered favorite. The fact is, I visit all sorts of gardening, landscaping, architectural and artist’s sites, always sniffing for those incredibly fascinating, well-thought-out factors which seem so Immortally Gorgeous.
I’ve always had garden writers to whom I pay rapt attention on what amounts to very nearly a daily basis. Faire Garden, a gardening blog by a wonderful lady, Frances, who updates it daily – and always with such perfect photography and humble words – she is a total favorite. As is Nancy Bond’s Leaping Greenly – to whom I pay more attention than she thinks. Another favorite who covers almost exactly the same weird taste as myself is Alice Joyce @ Alice’s Garden Travel Buzz. She pays the same rapt sort of admiring focus as I do to such people and things as Antonio Gaudi, Glass Art, Vertical Gardening – and exotic, problematic blooms which so thrive where she lives in San Francisco. Another Northern Californian who exchanged his focus on garden design to that of antiques is Philip Bewley – long a favorite of mine whose blog is archived here – Philip’s Garden Blog – and provides what I consider to be among the very best Garden Blogs ever written.
So these are people I would most certainly like to know better. But they are also people with whom I do have that opportunity, already established. We all talk amongst ourselves, in other words. ;-)
No – this is what I’m talking about:
Michael and Ea Eckerman- (and “left click” any images to enlarge – highly recommended)
Mr. Eckerman, Senior, is a Santa Cruz, California resident, the home town where my daughter was born and where I lived for many years. His passion for the surfer’s perspective is shown in fabulous detail as he rearranges the forms of his work to match Nature’s own forms such as curling waves and the inability of Nature Herself to reproduce straight lines in any profusion whatsoever.
From their website – http://www.eckermanstudios.com/ – please visit this absolute creative genius as he displays his stone work. You will come away shocked, I promise you. Pay special attention to his fireplaces.
Let’s continue with new and some old wonders:
Needless to say, another absolute wizard, for my money, is Patrick Blanc, the French “Johnny Appleseed” of Vertical Gardening. Here is his site:
Mr. Blanc has developed a virtual world following with absolutely breath-taking accomplishments in “Verticality”. There are classes now being given in Portland, Oregon, specializing in vertical gardening, run out of a restaurant, of all things – Singer Hill Cafe, in Oregon City, a suburb of Portland.
Here is an excerpt from a local newspaper there: And here the link
“The vertical garden movement – growing plants, herbs and even trees sideways from a building’s wall – has been steadily gaining momentum over the past few years.
There’s only one problem. No one wants to share exactly how it’s done.
Oregon City’s Phil Yates is hoping to change that. Yates first planted a vertical garden against the walls of his Singer Hill Café in 2009 through research and trial-and-error. Since then, he’s gone to France to visit Patrick Blanc – who inspired Yates and is credited with inventing the vertical garden – and has expanded the garden space along the building he owns next to Singer Hill.
Yates was mesmerized by the concept, but discovered that the masters of vertical gardening have largely kept their information proprietary. Portions of Blanc’s work is copyrighted, and there are few examples of vertical gardens in the United States.
Yates response was to start the Vertical Garden Institute, a non-profit organization “dedicated to promoting the technology and beauty of vertical gardens.” The organization is housed in the building next to Singer Hill Café and will hold a grand opening event with workshops on July 18 from noon to 5 p.m. (see box).
“The goal of the Vertical Garden Institute is to educate the public on how to build these things,” Yates said.
So vertical gardening has my attention.
But, then, so does Burning Man, scheduled to blow up tonight, in fact:
Then there are those who are no longer with us. I have found it difficult to find out enough about Antonio Gaudi, for example. I recall reading the life story of Salvador Dali, who mentions Gaudi’s gigantic role in his development as an artist. Both were Catalans, the province of Spain which featured bizarre stone formations and a near-other-worldly overall sensibility stemming from that weirdness – at least, according to Dali. But who could even cinceive of replicationg this man’s accomplishments? Here’s where I want to go – Park Guell, in Barcelona:
Then there is Frank Gehry:
Here’s a building for ya!
Or even this humble set of Extreme eccentricities:
And having said this, I’ve also developed a fondness for the written word. Oh, I adore the standard list of Fiction favorites – Follett, Deaver, Tom Clancy are huge – , James Lee Burke is a monstrous favorite of mine and now he’s gone and killed off poor Dave Robicheaux, a local disaster here. But, as was the case with my former high school baseball coach, jack hicks, I have been lucky enough to meet a local legend as well by the name of Bob Hill. I have featured both Bob and Hidden Hill Nursery in this blog before: right here in fact:
Bob runs Hidden Hill Nursery – a delightful website as well as the premises where he sells his carefully-selected exotics to the general public. At once accessible and prone to conversation, Bob also has made the nursery into a virtual park of horticultural and artistic wonders.
But his continued work in describing the local history of Louisville, in conjunction with the developing and fully wonderful planned massive park system called The Parklands of Floyds Fork, planned for eastern and southeastern Jefferson County (Louisville), and one of the nation’s largest new metropolitan parks projects.
Well, Bob’s Floyd’s Fork Journal – http://theparklands.org/category/bob-hills-journal/ – is an absolute gold mine of historical information, told by Louisville’s pre-eminent story-teller and is completely fascinating.
Bob Hill cares to remind us that our past is an interesting as our futures – so we owe the guy one. Or two.
How wonderful can it be – honestly – surrounded by such interesting people in this world, all of whom merely want us to smell some roses?