Friday, May 4, 2012

Gardening With Claude & Frank

A few years ago, around the time when I first realized just how much work my yard and garden was going to be, Hippie and I watched the BBC mini series, “The Impressionists”. I enjoyed it very much and it renewed my interest in the impressionist painters, especially Claude Monet and the paintings he did of his garden in Giverny, France.

Shortly after that I was in my garden wrestling with some overgrown vine from hell when I realized I wasn't alone. Good old Claude was with me, encouraging me to put down my gardening tools and look up at the yellow irises that were glowing in the afternoon sun. From then on, Claude would accompany me on my gardening rounds and he taught me how to look at a garden as a work of art. He made me take notice of the dance of color, light and shadow that surrounded me and how it changed from minute to minute, hour to hour. He instilled in me an inner vision of what my garden could be and helped me see the work ahead of me as a creative process instead of mere drudgery.

I will always be grateful to Monsieur Monet for this but after awhile I started to notice the differences between us. Yes, I admit I was jealous that he was a much more successful artist than I am and could afford to hire people to help him achieve his artistic vision in the garden while I had to do all the work myself. Then there was the long distance thing, his garden was in the North of France and mine was here in the Midwest of the U.S.A.  Something had to give.

I must confess that eventually I found myself turning to someone else. Someone who was more low maintenance (at least his gardening philosophies were), who understood where I was at. His name was Frank Lloyd Wright. You may know him more as an architect but he was also an ingenious landscape designer. Frank was there for me when I needed to find a way to integrate my garden with my lifestyle. He helped me to see that I could work with nature to create not just a work of art but also a way of life that was in harmony with my environment.

Of course Mr. Wright and I didn't always agree on everything either and these days I feel that I am beginning to develop my own gardening vision and philosophies. Yet both Claude and Frank still visit me in my garden and remain among my most trusted mentors and muses.

Irises zazzle_print
Irises by time2see
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  1. I am glad you are communing with the ghosts of these great men, because it is nice to know that in you, their work lives on. I would like to suggest a meeting with Frederick Law Olmsted, a well-known American landscape architect. I am sure his ghost would be helpful to you as well. I live in a condo, so alas, I am no help to you at all. And, I am still alive :)

    1. Thanks so much for the comment and the suggestion, Laurie. :)

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