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Probing Beauty

Garden photographers look to capture beauty with a camera.  Poets use words.

Hazel White leads a poetry walk, Marin Headlands Center for the Arts

Hazel White leads a poetry walk, Marin Headlands Center for the Arts

My friend, the poet and occasional garden writer, Hazel White recently led a hike as part of her artist in residence program at the Headlands Center for the Arts where she seeks to “create a series of site-responsive sonnets, each of which is 14 forays, or lines, of thought on the liaisons between landscape and language”.

This is artists’ speak for probing beauty of place, which is what she asked us to consider as she led a hike into the marshes near the Center.  In consideration of beauty, do we find it ?, or does beauty find us ?  Hazel gave us each a simple four foot garden stake as a physical probe to extend our own physical space into nature around us, as we went exploring for beauty.  What would we find ? Continue Reading →

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Frosted Camellias

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Frosty flowers on Camellia sasanqua ‘Cleopatra’

Even in California, frost causes problems.  And when it comes in early December it causes big problems.

Almost every gardener I know here in the Northern part of the state pushes the limits of their garden.  It’s California ! – it is our birthright to grow tropicals and tender succulents, plants that are barely hardy in a good year. Continue Reading →

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Behind the Scenes with my Succulents 2014 Calendar

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While compiling photos for my Succulents 2014 calendar, I looked back through hundreds of photos I’d taken in 2013. I evaluated them in terms of composition and how they might illustrate a specific month. For January, I think of aloes in bloom. But these photos say more to me than that. When I look at it the photo at lower left, I remember the garden I visited and how lovely it looked that day. It’s in San Diego near the airport, and the designer is Randy Laurie. Continue Reading →

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Rake at Rest

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What is work in the garden ?  For a garden photographer in his own garden, work shifts as the garden speaks.

There are times when the garden cries out for care, and the work is sweaty, grimy, intensely physical.  Then there are times when the garden sings and the work is quiet, aesthetically sensual, even joyful. Continue Reading →

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Accents !

Ratway_exclamations)GGWFor a garden photographer there is nothing quite like a landscape architect who knows how to use plants.  Gary Ratway not only knows plants as well as any horticulturist I have met, he designs landscapes to show them off.

His own garden in Mendocino, California is a showcase for garden design as landscape architecture, a landscape that has been designed to accommodate his many garden rooms where he  plays with plants.  Many plant lovers know his nursery, Digging Dog, which Gary began with his wife Deborah Wigham because he could not find sources for the exquisite plants he uses. Continue Reading →

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