Monday, July 20, 2009

Two minds in harmony with the land

The meadow project; Daniel and Michael are "plugging" in areas of planted vegetation between the wild grasses, hoping them to be strong enough to multiply and give more variation to the plant palette.

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to join some of the Seattle area bloggers on a visit to Daniel's and Michael's garden in Carnation, about half-an hours drive East from Seattle. Daniel Mount is a professional gardener and writer, who still finds time to keep a journal about his love to nature, plants and gardens on his sensitively written blog. Michael, his partner, did not seem to come second in either interest or knowledge, as we talked away while walking through their wild and beautiful farm and garden on 7 acres nestled into Carnation Marsh natural parkland. The serene and beautiful pictures I took are quite deceptive; Daniel and Michael told some colourful stories about the floods last winter, when several feet of swirling water covered the whole area, leaving paddling the only way of transportation from a place to another. Luckily, they did not till their land the autumn before the flood, which helped in keeping most of the topsoil in place, instead of being flushed away by the water masses.
The kitchen garden, at least 200 sqm of vegetables and flowers, against a backdrop of wetland trees. Daniel and Michael told that this is the driest summer they remember; luckily they can irrigate the plantings regularly as they have their own well to supply the water.
Winding paths lead to the forest beyond the garden, the trees forming a living cathedral of shady greenery.
Rosa 'Darwin's Enigma', an unusual, beautifully scented climber with elegant leaves, now planted against a grey, wooden fence by the property border.
It was a wonderful afternoon, sitting under a beautiful, old cherry tree, talking to these interesting people and listening to their stories; Jean talking about the soil based colouring project she invented in Petra, Jordan, to help the women there to rediscover their cultural heritage; David sharing his beautifully coloured rhubarb juice; Petunia, Karen and Molly discussing plants and growing with a burning interest (and knowledge!). And of course, to get to meet Daniel and Michael, and share in their vision for their beautiful garden; the meadow project for adding variety to the existing, native vegetation and the unusual trees they have planted to replace the maturing alders in the long term (I felt a slight sting of jealousy at their trust in being able to see the results of their work)... Two minds and four able hands, working together in harmony with the land and the surrounding nature. Thank you, Daniel and Michael, it was truly lovely to visit you and your garden.

David and Molly walking through the winding paths in the wood, surrounded by both wild and planted varieties, like Polygonatums and Monardas on the right.


Karen said...

I love this kind of positive-Rashomon effect of hearing about/seeing the visit from all the different viewpoints. You heard and saw things that I missed (lagging along at the back of the tour group, yakking of course), like the details of the alder replacement and the rose name. Thank you! What an amazing day. Sorry I didn't get to talk to you more. Just amazing how quickly time flies by when you are with people who are, and in a place that is, so delightful.

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Karen, I loved reading Jean's report too - and have to check now if you have written anything! Jean's pictures really showed the atmosphere and people, food and all; and mine, so typically most plants and no people. Interesting differences... I'm so sorry I had to leave so soon, I really would have loved to talk to you and the others more.

Safi Crafts said...

I am so glad that you talk about the plants. I was hoping someone would. What a garden it is! The day left me with so many impressions and stories I didn't know what to focus on. Your photos are lovely, by the way. It was nice to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Jeg er så hygellig for treffe deg!Tak for se våre hage(jungel). Dine blog er en inspirasjon, veldig godt skriftlig (unlike mine norsk)!!


Petunia's Gardener said...

I think we'll be revisiting the posts about this wonderful afternoon come winter time! I was very excited to see the vegetable garden, but the woods' edge and its peaceful whispers really captured me that day. I'm glad you could be there, too.

Bay Area Tendrils said...

Dare I say, the next best thing to being there is reading your post along with those of your blogging cohorts.
It's lovely to feel connected. And quite surprising to be able to experience such a feeling in this virtual world we share.
Cheers, Alice