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Theft is art if you write cleverly enough

Probably the most satisfying aspect of working as a gardener at the IMA is to be present at the intersection of art and nature.  Not just being able to cruise the galleries indoors, or seeing some sculpture in the gardens; but bit by bit creating new art experiences – at least in my head.  And that is where art starts forming, as the mind combines the previously unrelated.

Ooooo, the blog is getting a little too deep and self-consciously artsy.

Who said something about art being either plagiarism or genius?  In the horticulture trade, one of the first things a gardener learns is to borrow and adapt what others do. A good gardener  gives proper credit when told, “That is a nice plant combination.”  So, John Teramoto, Marty Krause, Annette Schlagenhauff (am I forgetting anyone?) – thank you for the exhibit Lay of the Land.

The exhibit combining Asian and Western art prints and poetry, set me to thinking about how often images in the galleries, or music and poetry cause me to recall some beautiful place I’ve experienced.  Nice memories and feelings …. trying to capture the bliss of the moment.

So as Autumn brings another season to a close, I offer some images and poems, with apologies to the artists,  that reminded this gardener of the promise and beauty of Spring as compensation for labors…

Work
The corn is baking in blue smoke,
Pickled tomato is piled ready on my plate,
And the chrysocolla of a young cedar branch is close.
Yet the breakfast that should be calm and enjoyable
makes me uneasy.
I’m worried about the manure I threw yesterday
From the horsecart and left on the slope.
Kenji Miyazawa 1896-1933

Manure and compost on vegetable garden at Oldfields

Manure and compost on vegetable garden at Oldfields

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Fauna in the Flora Part 1: Hiding in Plain Sight

Geoff

Before I arrived at the IMA, I worked in the for-profit, residential landscaping trade.   During the period of  January through mid March when work would pause due to ice and cold, I sometimes worked as a substitute teacher.  I enjoyed the time in classrooms at Pike High School except for one problem:  more than half the classrooms had no windows.  I would arrive in the dark morning and leave in dusky afternoon.  I felt like a plant unable to photosynthesize.  Worse, I had no connection to the world, no sense of wind, rain, heat or cold, nor natural sound.  I felt like I had been numbed and wrapped in cotton balls.

Those sun-shiny memories are meant as preface, sympathizing with cubicle dwellers, retail and restaurant staff, and factory workers.  Rise up comrades!  And step outside.  Even in a place with as much asphalt and concrete as the IMA parking areas, you can meet natural wonders. Just slow down and look.

There is an asphalt roadway three lanes wide, in and out of the IMA’s underground parking garage.  The low shrubs on either side, caught between the curb and concrete retaining walls are fragrant sumac.  Being careful about traffic, reach down and rub a twig and leaves gently between your hands.  Now smell.  Spicy, refreshing?

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