Sunday, April 4, 2010

If I could go back

As I come to the end of my series "Reading a Garden" I've been thinking about my whole stay at Birr Castle Demesne which was that experience that prompted the creation of this blog. I wanted to publicly chart my progress as I created the series and to use my writing as an opportunity for personal reflection. As time went by other art work and interests began to creep into my posts. I'm now wondering how the blog will change as a result of this natural conclusion to two years of garden work. I'm at another pivotal point in my career as I wait for the next focus to overtake me. I have a feeling I am not finished with gardens yet.

The Bothy

Blogger Sherwood Harrington and fellow Bothy inhabitant, gets to visit the Demesne again this summer. He asked if I could go again what would I bring back. Now I'm thinking even harder. It's a case of now that I've done it, I know how to do it. I assume he doesn't mean a physical object!

There are many things I would change about how I absorbed the property from a personal and artistic viewpoint. Here goes in no particular order:

I missed the lilacs and poppies, both flowers I love; therefore, I would want to change the time of my visit to correspond to blooming times of my favourite plants . That would mean going before the end of June as I did.

I would document my time in the garden in more detail, especially my personal reflections about what I was feeling and observing. Since I've begun to work on the series I've had many moments of "I wish I had..."

While I took a lot of photographs, I would take different ones on another visit. One area of interest is close up views of textures which is where my new work seems to be headed. Surfaces of rocks, vines, flower petals, earth, moss - the overlooked and intricate.

I've also thought about all the secret spots there are in the garden. Those kinds of places that we would seek out as a child to hide in or place small treasures. I would like to have a photographic reference file for these "hidey holes".

The wildflower meadow was beautiful. On another trip I would hunt down a good wildflowers of Ireland reference book and become better acquainted with the names and descriptions of specific flowers. Comparisons with the flowers in the meadows around my summer house could lead to interesting combined works based on both places.

I would also spend time in the furthest outreaches of the Demesne. I think I missed quite a bit of the wilder side of the property.

One of the greatest aspects of my blogging world is the online friends I've made. I had no idea it would be this way when I made my first post.


Jeanette said...

There are so many aspects of a large property such as this that can be explored, from a broad view to minute detail.

Seasons change the look of a garden too. I wonder what this would like like in the depths of winter with bare trees and frosted grass?

Shayla said...

I'm a little lost. I hadn't realized that Bir Castle is in Ireland. I pictured the gardens as being a special park somewhere near your residence. The size of the trees for Newfoundland was baffling... now I get it. Are you there now? Or are you referring to a previous trip and the photos you took while there? That cottage is the sweetest. It sounds like the perfect garden retreat.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

We are so completely changed by a series of work that one would be returning with a completely different self, new eyes.

Margaret Ryall said...

I often wonder what the property would look like in winter. It was you who commented in a previous post about winter allowing the bones of the garden to show. That comment has stayed with me. I wonder ...

Sorry about the confusion. We have no castles in Newfoundland nor any gigantic trees. I wish I was in Birr now but alas I am in my den typing away. Sometime I will go back, I don't know when. It was an idyllic working holiday two years ago.

Mary Ann,
I agree that a large body of work changes our perceptions. I feel that way now that I'm at the other end of this work.

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! It's been a wonderful experience learning about your thoughts and process, not mention viewing your beautiful paintings! It looks like you need to take another trip!

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Margaret,

I know it is been a while since I was here last and with your most recent post, I can identify with very well.

When I first started taking my daughter back to school in Santa Cruz, I would drive home along the coast. since then i have discovered a small cove hidden from the road and one where I have found all my heart shaped hearts that I have not found anywhere else.

With every visit, this very little spot has provided me with a different experience and I cannot wait until I return.

My last visit was the longest, about two hours and I could have remained longer, but there were other stops planned.

There is no way one can cover everything in one visit, it takes many. Visits at different times of the day or the even the week, including different times of the year. All these differences have an effect upon us and how we see things.

Warmest regards,

Stan Kurth said...

Enjoyed the visit. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing your new or extended series with emphasis on textures.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

I don't know what I could add that the other's haven't written already. This has been a wonderfully interesting read.

-Don said...

I'm late arriving to this discussion. I took most of the weekend off from my blogging to enjoy Easter with the family. I really enjoyed this trip down your memory lane. Your "what if" observations really make sense. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? What amplifies it here is the amount of work you have put into and created from this one life-altering adventure. I look forward to seeing what new adventures you will take us on with your words and works.


layers said...

I think it is absolutely true that when we first experience, explore, or find a new experience that impacts our work- in time we can't predict what that initial experience will lead to-- and where we will end up-- I am planning another trip to Kyoto next year as I know I will return with different eyes- exploring new interests as I have done so much more reading and working since my last trip.

Sherwood Harrington said...

I assume he doesn't mean a physical object!

Well, there goes your chance to ask for a Connemara pony.

I would love to go in lilac time, also, or at more flowery times in general. We're pretty well locked into August, though, given my teaching schedule.

Taking more time with the small-scale is something I intend to do more diligently this time around, thanks to this post -- and, yes, that is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping you'd respond with.

As you know, we had the luxury of more time on our first visit than you did, so we got to spend more time in the far reaches and some of the secret places, well worth doing if and when you return.

Thanks, Margaret. Finding and following your blog has been an enriching experience for me.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Egmont, I live just up the San Lorenzo Valley from Santa Cruz, in the redwood forest. Now I'll have to look for your cove! I don't know if I'll find it, but I do know that I'll find something worth the search.