Saturday, March 31, 2012

Simplicity, Joy & Balance

I have been reminiscing about the times when I was immersed in art;   following it and making it. I realize that composing a landscape is art and certainly there is great satisfaction. I have always believed and trusted in the process. Upon completion of a garden, I still feel the thrill.
I do miss hammering silver, applying brush to color to canvas, needle to fabric.....and more.
Balance. I have lost it. I have looked everywhere.
I concentrate on my business most of every week; working it, promoting it, guiding it, studying about it, communicating about it, financing it and growing with it. Within this schedule, I do not allow myself the time and activities necessary to replenish my vessel. The key is to Simplify.
I feel the need to move back toward my beginnings. I was simply a gardener and an artist; though then, I was finding my way as beginners do. And what adventures! 30 years later, I feel removed to a certain extent from that simple notion of tending to and the arrangement of plants. So, I am thinking about how I want to see myself as I cross another threshold. Ideas:

  • Tending many smaller gardens myself and by hand
  • Garden Coaching
  • Training beginning gardeners who would like to be in the profession
  • Designing landscapes and supervising clients' crews through the installation process
I am curious as to how others see shifting their businesses to lower stress and have time for other delights like family, friends, activities and passions.

I have mentioned my upcoming birthday later this year, already. The number doesn't bother me, but I think these decade markers tend to force many of us to stop and rethink the route that we travel. Yes; we need to fund the trip, but need one thing above all. Joy.
Leaving the landscaping page briefly, I am thinking about how I have felt this elusive joy, giving myself a timeline of the past 2 years for this example: Sitting quietly in the garden,sitting by the fire on a rainy day, enjoying home in candlelight, laughing at the silliness of my dog, taking metal work workshops and having time with those I love. The joy that I look forward to is the birth of my grandson; carried by my beautiful healthy daughter with her husband's love, support and involvement. And art needs to take its place within me again because it will support Balance.

I keep coming back to simplify. What can I do right now?
Work enough, make enough, take time for picnics during work days, go window shopping during breaks (galleries), open my eyes while en route, set business communication limits during after- hours, keep my amazing bookkeeper ( Lansida Brockmeyer ; owner of Level Ledgers, Carmel) and begin to limit weekend work, thereby creating time for art. It will be a process, but I need to start somewhere! Simplify equals freeing up more time. Time equals creativity, which is a hop, skip and a jump to joy. Simplify and Joy equal Balance.

I do like to recommend products and or books that I come across.

I would like to encourage any readers to incorporate edibles in your gardens, even if you have only a deck or porch. There are many books out.
One is "Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces" by Gayla Trail
I will always recommend "Plants and Landscapes for Summer Dry Climates for the San Francisco Bay Region". The title is a little deceiving as not all of the plants are for dry hot climates. Here in Carmel, most are well suited. However, the photos are wonderful and the descriptions are good. I refer to this book while designing, without fail.

A product which I have purchased and not yet used, is Mycorrhizal Fungi. It is one of the more important groups of soil organisms which play a critical role in nutrient cycling, mediating plant stress and protecting against pathogens. It is a cornerstone in the ability of plants to survive transplant shock and become fully established. It is locally available and there are many companies online who carry it. I read about it on an online LinkedIn garden design group discussion that I read daily. Many are from the UK and a few of the contributors said that they never plant without it.

Today's featured jewelry celebrates The Green Man. He is the god of spring; whose image was used as a talisman to encourage new fertility and growth. I am showing 2 sets of "Dog Tags" in sterling on a nickle plated ball chain. They are each $58.00 and can be purchased locally from me or online through Etsy.

Until next time. I want to get to work and finish my list of duties so that perhaps I can take some time to contemplate how I will enter art's door once again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 2012

Apparently, I am an infrequent blogger. I shall try to remedy that this year.

As this new year begins, I see opportunity on the horizon. Newness is a daily event. New buds may be unfolding early this year; the weather is so different. There are gardens to plan and plants; previously ignored; to now include. There is art; floral- inspired linoleum cuts to print on fabrics for baby clothes and more.

In my garden, I plan to fill ornamental spaces with edibles along with my designated vegetable box, pots and new areas planned for compost piles and eventual plantings.

My "material" goals this year are to purchase 2- 9 drawer Excalibur food dehydrators for myself and my daughter and son-in-law and to replace all gas powered gardening equipment with electric and/or battery powered and acquire really good quality hand tools. These go hand in hand with being a healthy gardener adding to a healthy environment. I found a great site for the dehydrator for our bounties (plus juicers and more)

There are 2 products for the garden that I am going to try out. Both are available at Home Depot; either in store or  with free shipping. I will have to purchase online as my local stores (Seaside, Salinas & Watsonville) do not carry them.....Beats Peat and Mega Mulch dark brown. They are both made from the highly sustainable Coconut Coir. Beats Peat is used in place of the non-sustainable Peat Moss; mixed with planting medium. It should still have amendments added like compost or fertilizer, if you would like. It comes in a compressed block weighing 11 lbs. and expands in water to up to 3 cubic feet. Mega Mulch is typically used as a mulch to retain moisture and block weeds, instead of using bark.In water, it expands to up to 2 cubic feet. Both products cost less than $10.00.

I temporarily set my gardening books aside for need of a British DVD fix during my week off. However, I am off to the Carmel Library this week for a fresh stack of garden reading. It always inspires. I will share any spectacular reads.

I plan to incorporate meadows and edibles in landscapes this year; hoping to dissuade clients from installing or keeping lawns. In the past, I disliked succulents and the color orange. I have changed my mind.

In keeping with all things "nature", I have begun a dog sitting service called Canines at Catherine's. Clients are happy to not have to leave their dogs at boarding facilities any longer, but to have them stay and go with me around the clock. It is an endeavor which allows me to combine my adoration of dogs with my love of the garden coupled with its duties as owner of my landscape gardening business. It is the best of both worlds. Pictured, is my Sir Galahad; a White Shepherd pup (not so helpful in the garden!).

As an artist, I infrequently create hand fabricated sterling silver jewelry pieces; some with a botanical theme. Featured, is a sterling necklace depicting organic Eucalyptus leaves; clearly being eaten in their environment. The central piece is a hollowform with the leaf patterns roll printed. It is something of a show-stopper which can be worn by either a man or a woman. I am charging $375.00 for this piece. My work is sold on

I would like to end this blog and begin this year with a note of thanks to my family, friends, associates and clients who have stood by me and given support. You are all my North Star.