When we first designed our garden, in the organic, free-form way that we created it – we were busy going outward, building paths and garden beds to get the bare basics of the garden done. This has taken a good few years, but now we are finally at the point where we are happy with the general structure and layout of the place. I love that five minutes – sometimes two! – before I get in the car to go to work, where I go out the front door, go round to the right, jump off the deck, walk past my bus and the firepit, past the pond, pass the outer vegie beds, in through the south gate of the vegie patch to check on what’s growing, out through the north gate THEN get in the car for work. It’s a roundabout way, but it’s the pure, in the moment enjoyment of the garden, in the few precious moments I have in a working week, that can last me through the day until I get home and do it all again. I love the early morning sunlight dressing everything in gold, the snails retreating, the spider webs glistening with dew. The way we’ve laid it all out means that the space takes longer to walk around, and there is a lot to look at now, between baths and outdoor showers and sculptures and compost heaps and fish ponds and aquaponics! But it always has a great sense of balance for me that I don’t always get in my day.
Now, we are working our way inward – like the labrinth, you go into the centre of things. By going into the centre you can discover things about yourself that perhaps you have known all along – that you love beauty, and art, and peace, and harmony. Hence the outdoor bath (see the post “On Bathstronomy”) – as well as trying to infill gaps with plants that balance across the garden – the red of the kangaroo paws with the burgundy of the Japanese maple, standing stones that lead the eye toward the sun or nestle above a tiny hill that’s visible from the kitchen window, or a fishpond.
Today’s project was paste ups – a kind of graffiti art that involves wheatpaste and a drawing on paper. Today I spent four hours drawing the dragonfly and two minutes pasting her on the wheel arch of the bus (our guest room, a ’60’s Bedford Comair) – all for the sake of beauty and art, peace and harmony. On one wing is England, with the moon and Glastonbury Tor, and on the other, Australia, with Pt Roadknight and the sun – the wings balanced. I wish I’d photocopied her first, because I smudged it a bit with the wet wheat paste, but you learn from your mistakes as you exit the labrinth, and then go back in to start again, or look at it again anew. What I relearn about myself, over and over, is how much I love the beautiful, the harmonic, the aesthetic. I love being creative, even though in my busy life, I don’t always get a chance to be. I love the pleasure I get from this aspect of gardening – it doesn’t always have to be purely functional, like the box of potatoes I pulled from the earth this morning. It’s about the balance, isn’t it? Function and beauty – now there’s the peace and harmony for me. Tip the scales, and I suffer.
What do you think? What art do you put in your garden? How do you beautify your space?