After escaping the farm to go to college, I became rather adamant in the abandonment of my rural origins. However, I made another turn when becoming involved with my first partner named Stephen. SELaM & I gardened for a number of seasons at the home we bought together in north Denver, which we called The Highlands, that being the name of the area of the city which had been developed late in the 19th century, on a bluff above the city.
Leaving that relationship, with the intention to move to San Francisco, I took a long detour… making an exploration of an unexpected opportunity in Sedona, Arizona.
This view of the Bothy’s backside explains the beginnings of my dream toward a stairway down from where I might want to bring my coffee along… to see how the garden grows.
After several years of volunteering at the Mother Garden & meeting Dougo’s imaginative & playful sense of planting the salad crops for which it was famous. I appreciatively began designing Avalon’s beds in parterre patterns… trying for a harmony of colors & textures of lettuces & the wide variety of salad greens which I was meeting, having never known them in the high mountain desert of Arizona. I allowed them to spill over the sides of the bed to continue the design into the path.
It was wonderful to enjoy watching them grow into fulsome abundance to encourage the technique of “cut & cut again” harvest.
This is one such harvest of cuttings during a particularly lush season when I could augment our offering to Food For Thought, the West Sonoma Aids food bank.
This was gathered in the “bean room”… a concept I’d begun designing while I lived in Sedona to create privacy behind Upwillow. This incarnation was built more substantially with salvaged aluminum pipe, with a beveled glass tabletop suspended with a tree trunk pedestal on a carpet of Roman chamomile, a plant I came to love for its soft fluff & fragrance.
I’d long wanted a stairway down from the deck off my apartment above to make easier access to the garden, so when my parents came to visit, during the decade they were wandering in their various campers & trailers I was ready to suggest the project to Poppa because this was his wont… to assist making some accomplishment with the collection of tools he carried as a portable wood shop. He had done such work for each of their siblings & each of us kids as they visited around the country. All of our homes & lives were thus enhanced by his ambition to help by keeping himself occupied. Momma enjoyed helping in the garden & kitchen as well as more settled time for her embroidery, sewing & mending. We were thus enriched by such extended time for deeper family visits.
The spring we were preparing to host a wedding of JP’s niece there was delivered, a bit mysteriously, a substantial pile of landscape soil was delivered, a bit mysteriously. I claimed it for sculpting a frog folly sculpted over a pile of errant clay & planted with Scotch & Irish moss… with a big mouth in which to sit in the fragrance of more Roman chamomile.
With a capacious mouth in which one could sit… settling inside the fragrant cushion of more Roman chamomile.
I was working on it when Michael Hathaway… a friend who I knew from volunteer days at the Mother garden… brought Stephen to meet me, thus fulfilling my dreamy requirement that the romance, for which I was finally ready, after a decade of chosen celibacy, come literally to me. That introduction became undoubtedly the most incredible meeting of my life, becoming a 26-year-long love story… & still counting…