Sunday Opinion: At The Intersection

Yesterday was the last day for regularly scheduled hours in the shop until March 1.  I still come to work every day, but there is a change in the routine.  I am on an internal, diurnal, noctural, natural, subdural, under the weather schedule.  I am not looking out the window, I am looking in.  I don’t plan much. I put my watch in the drawer. I eat potato chips whenever I feel like it.  My mind wanders, and my hands are itching to make this, try that, hold whatever up to the light. 

I have design projects needing some resolution by spring.  All of them are in my mind; I like to let things cook before I put a pencil to paper. That cooking can take a long time; the long low heat makes for a tender stew with great flavor.  Things surface in no particular order-fine.  My reaction to the gardening season 2010 being in the distant future?  Spring can wait. In December I am still working furiously; this spills over into early January. Long about January 5,  I shift gears.  No more daily lists.  I sleep soundly and long. Were I a bear, I would Dylan Thomas my way resolutely into that good night.  The seasonal life suits me perfectly. I like very very on, and very, very off; I am not a big fan of a daily drip. 

My life changes during my late year streaming.  Do you not admire this lingo coming from an old girl? It so amuses me.  My concept of streaming is more stream of consciousness.  You never know what might float by.  January is time to give time to what surfaces, and see where it takes you.  It is about taking direction from something that hasn’t crossed my mind yet. A new year is firstly about second chances, and more importantly, about the future. The future is our most precious treasure.  As much as the present infuses my life with color, serious discourse, and energy, the future pushes me. My January is all about that future.  Rob is shopping for Detroit Garden Works holiday and spring 2010 as I write.  I have had 130 or so emails from him, loaded with photographs, in the past two days. January is a perfect time to take some ideas, and turn them into a collection for the shop. We talk plenty, seeds get sown , a plan gets buried in some good dirt-something good grows out of this. The winter lays me low; I am a growing girl, no question.  I do the best I can to live good naturedly over the winter.  Making topiary sculpture from natural materials, painting, designing new pots for Branch to build, repainting and rearranging the shop, reading, my spring design projects-I am terribly busy in an aimlessly good way. I need for nothing to be all put together right now. 

At the intersection of Routine Street and Invention Boulevard, there is never any question which route I will take.  Routine Street is at least 8 paved lanes wide, and goes on with nary a twist nor turn for what seems like a lifetime. This is not to say I am not influenced by the work of others-far from it. There are so many talented people out there whose work I truly respect and value. But January life is about turning what influences me inside out and upside down and running it down the block.  If I am able to explain how, and with what materials, and why I have done what I have done, I will. I know I will be moving on to something else today. What I did yesterday does not completely define me.  I would want to be a what will come next girl.  I also believe that if a person can teach, they should. Transmit what they can.  If people listen and try to reproduce my experiments, I am happy for this.  As I think my eye and my sensibility is unique to me, no one could take that from me. I do meet people in various design fields who never seem to veer off what someone else has dreamed up-this is mostly about a lack of confidence, not a lack of imagination. Rarely there will be someone who deliberately claims the work of others as their own; I feel sorry for them.  They have eliminated any possibility of satisfaction from their lives. How miserable a deed, and consequently, how miserable this must feel.

 Invention Blvd is an uncharted and unmarked two track known for its hairpin turns, narrow bridges, wildlife in the road and predictably foggy weather.  Does this not sound like the best fun?  I have written this post in fits and starts over the past two days.  That’s how things work for me, in January.

At A Glance: Blue Moon

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Who Am I??

aloe grassy lassieLast week there was some discussion of a plant pictured in my post on gifts for gardeners. What is it? Though the flowers bear a strong resemblance to kniphofia, this plant is an aloe. 

Dec 18d 001Grassie Lassie has long thin stiff leaves, barbed all along their edges. I water them once in only a great while. They started blooming a month ago. Peach and yellow bells on long brownish stems-good looking.  Steve thinks it is a Proven Winners selection-maybe so.  I just know I like it. 

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Flowers in the winter-what a treat.

Sunday Opinion: Oxygen

I  go to work really early; I like uninterrupted time to wake up, have coffee, plan the day, and play ball with the dogs. I often use this time to write-especially the Sunday opinion essay.  Of late I have been taking photographs with the tripod-in the dark.  I am curious what I cannot see, that the unblinking eye of the camera will catch. This routinely unscheduled time alone is my oxygen; I need to breath it in, to live. Later Steve will be in; we will sort out the day.  Later yet, I will need to pull materials, sketch plans, talk on the phone, handle the unexpected. My rush hour starts around 7:30. Some days it persists longer than you would think.  I would bet most other people’s days are just about like mine-but for the oxygen.  What any given person needs to breathe in such that their blood circulates briskly-individual.

I have written and written again about how the gardening season goes on for me, long after the killing frost turns the landscape quiet.  How much of this is either self defense, or just talk-probably more than I think.  I do so miss the plants and the dirt. I miss cruising the garden, eating outdoors; I miss all of it, and I will go on missing it another three months anyway.  Yesterday morning I woke up needing a little of that kind of oxygen.  I waited around impatiently for the clock to read 8:45; I was walking in the door of Bordine’s Nursery at 9:05.  The quality of the oxygen is what hits you first.  The air is enriched with water, and smells like life. This sort of oxygen I need to live.  Even though they are at the end of their holiday season, there was plenty of living going on.

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Having been a gardener a long time, I know what a well-grown plant looks like.  Every place I looked, gorgeous plants grown by Rick Brinks. The greenhouse was filled with all manner of plants in warm colors; the chartreuse benching made all the color look even better.  I found myself not one, but two flatbed shopping carts-and shop I did. The red and white pointsettias were luscious. As were the cyclamen.  I like the mini-cyclamens better than the standard size.  They seem more like a garden plant, than a hothouse version of a plant.  Both will bloom a long time over the winter. The leaves are as beautiful as the flowers-although flowers were really what I needed yesterday.  I bought amaryllis bulbs to pot up.  These papery brown bulbs are programmed to speedily launch their stout stalks topped with three or four giant flowers practically while you watch.  I found some tropical ferns and yellow variegated dracaenas-their shades of green were a sight for my sore eyes. 

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Last night I was potting plants on the kitchen counter.  Buck was standing right next to me, armed with the roaring hose of the shop vac. The dirt crumbs and wet blobs and other detritus didn’t stand a chance.  I was in my own kitchen, watching a live time episode of  ”Cooking with Miss Dirtiness”.  It was pretty funny.  Yesterday-all I did all day was breathe.