Archive for November, 2009
DryStoneGarden just turned a year old. The blog grew up as a side shoot of our efforts to make our own website, as a spur to start documenting our stonework and gardens and the plants we like, and as a realization that there’s not really enough information about stonework for gardens. A year later, I still feel like there’s a paucity of info on stone (please comment or email me if you have a favorite site, I’d love to check it out), but I’ve been impressed with the quality of the garden blogs I’ve found, and I’ve enjoyed participating in the garden blog world. Thanks to everyone who participates with me.
I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but I wanted to first reread Farewell to Manzanar, Jeane Wakatsuki Houston’s memoir of her childhood in the internment camp. I hadn’t really thought about that book since reading it back in eighth grade, but while I was out on the east side I visited Manzanar, an interesting place to visit despite the fact that there’s not a lot there any more. Whether for practical or more guilt-oriented reasons, the site was almost completely erased after it closed in 1945. All of the buildings were dismantled and hauled away, leaving only some concrete foundations, the large auditorium, two stone sentry posts built by a stonemason internee Ryozo Kado, the cemetery with its concrete monument also built by Kado, and the remains of a few gardens built by the internees. Now, the place feels barren and desolate, which is, I guess, appropriate.
The park service has done a lot of work to put together a visitor center that gives a sense of what life might have been like in the camp. Their website says they will have a virtual tour online in the future, but for now the wikipedia page or this article in Lost Magazine have the most info and links that I could find on the web. Farewell to Manzanar, though, is the best source. I don’t remember the book making much of an impression when I was young, but this time I found it quite compelling, perhaps because the story is relevant to our country’s recent history.
There’s a saying: If you want it to last, build it with stone. Kado’s work is all very meticulous for someone who was essentially a prisoner. He created almost everything that remains at the site.
The lintels are made of concrete finished to look like wood, apparently a signature of Kado’s work.
The posts at the sentry station resemble a tree trunk, while the ones in the cemetery have a smooth finish as if they were scoured by sand or water.
There are the remnants of several traditional Japanese gardens built by the internees. I don’t know of any photos that show the gardens in their prime, but they look like they were quite complex, involving water features, landscape boulders, and masonry. Kado was one of the main creators, and some of the concrete ponds were lined with more of his faux-wood masonry. This article talks about the park service’s archeological efforts with the gardens, including more details about Kado and a number of photos of the garden ruins. In person, the effect is quite powerful, especially for someone like myself who installs gardens for a living.
Houston talks about the gardens in her chapter about revisiting the ruins of Manzanar.
‘It is so characteristically Japanese, the way lives were made more tolerable by gathering loose desert stones and forming with them something enduringly human. These rock gardens had outlived the barracks and the towers and would surely outlive the asphalt road and rusted pipes and shattered slabs of concrete. Each stone was a mouth, speaking for a family, for some man who had beautified his doorstep.’
Photos #5 and #6 from Wiki user Mav.
My bloom day photo of what Daffodil Planter called ‘the vine with multi-colored blooms’ reminds me that I took a photo of it in full bloom back in May. We hang-dry our laundry for a variety of practical reasons — it doesn’t use fossil fuels (clothes driers account for 5.8% of residential energy use), line-dried clothing lasts longer, it makes sense in our climate, and, well, we don’t own a dryer — but also I sometimes like the look of it. I remember when I was in Italy I thought the laundry lines between the apartment buildings were very charming, and now looking at two shots of our patio this past spring, I prefer the one with the laundry.
I know at least some garden bloggers use a line. Daffodil Planter said she has one. Townmouse has a variety of drying contraptions. It’s getting more fashionable, and there’s, of course, even a blog devoted to the topic.
We don’t have a ton of stuff blooming in our garden for November. Our laundry is actually the biggest show of color today, with one of Anita’s shirts nicely matching the bloom color of the Spicebush and the Fuchsia. The spicebush is mostly done blooming, but the fuchsia has climbed into it and from a distance the fuchsia flowers make it look like the spicebush has more than its three or four remnant blooms.
I didn’t noticed that the Sidalcea malviflora plants have woken up, but one is starting to bloom already.
Manzanita ‘John Dourley’ has opened a few flowers.
Some of our Bearded Irises decided to do a fall bloom. This is the darkest one of the batch, my favorite.
And Blessed Calendulas. We always have some orange calendulas blooming (and needing to be deadheaded). Alyssum, a rosemary, the last basil plant, two Salvia chamaedryoides, and the cannas in the graywater planter are the other plants blooming in our yard. Check out Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at MayDreamsGardens to see lots more plants in bloom.
I recently netflixed Standing with Stones, a travelogue overview of the megaliths, henges, and stone circles of Great Britain. It’s good stuff, put together by just two guys, the filmmaker and the narrator. My favorite parts were probably the segment on Men-an-Tol and a short rant about some misguided preservationists who “restored” Newgrange using Portland cement. There is maybe a bit much of “…and we have no idea what it was for!” but I suppose that’s a reflection of how ancient these stone sites are and not really the fault of the filmmakers. Personally, I had no idea there were so many sites and that they were so old. Those early Brits really liked to move rocks.
Folks in Anita’s winter vegi classes were interested in what specific varieties to grow, so I thought I’d post the list of what we’re growing in our Richmond Annex (fog belt, zones 9b and 17) garden for this winter. Everything we’re growing is a variety that we’ve done at least one of the past three winters here, which seems a little boring and unadventurous, but should produce reliably.
- Favas Beans
Snap Peas ‘Cascadia’
Beat Greens “Lutz Salad Leaf’
Romaine Lettuce ‘Freckles’
‘De Cicco’ Broccoli
Yellow Onion Sets
Garlic ‘Nootka Rose’
Kale ‘Dwarf Blue Curled’ and ‘Dinosaur’
Mustard ‘Red Giant’
A pretty standard list, everything reliable. Alpine Strawberries, a Rocoto Pepper, Regular and Garlic Chives, and a couple of Blueberries are the year-round residents. We’re still harvesting Celery, Leeks, and Zucchini’s, and we’ll probably plant out more Snap Peas and Kale or maybe Rainbow Chard in those spots in February.
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