Monday, May 07, 2007

Dormant Canvas

Not Actively Growing - BIOLOGY in an inactive state, when growth and development slow or cease, in order to survive adverse environmental conditions

Today I am presenting my Wildflower Meadow as *art* because this is a creative endeavor that will soon consume me again when planting season arrives. Great art is about passion, dedication and commitment. It could be inspired by the love of our family or invoked through the creation of a thought provoking painting, a decorative medallion or in this case, a beautiful meadow. These values apply to anything that we want to accomplish in life and art. My wildflower meadow is one of the things I am passionate about and something I am willing to go to great lengths for.

I like to think of our land as my living landscape painting (a true continuing work in progress). For my living painting, I have envisioned a wild and colorful explosion of life that will bring joy to all that gaze upon it. It will delight the senses; beautiful flowers to captivate the eye, silken petals and spiky leaves intriguing and delicious to the touch, heady floral scents to permeate the air and intoxicate the mind, a plethora of insects and birds to create a blissful symphonic festival of music… oh waxing so poetic! The absolute Zen of it all! Seriously though, the Wildflower Meadow is most definitely on the list of my top passionate obsessions and it truly does bring me happiness and inspires my *other* art. I’m not sure about its overall effect on the masses but perhaps if I share the photos and discuss the trials and tribulations of creating a living painting then you too could be inspired to live your passions?

Some Wildflower Meadow Background:

This month marks our third spring in our new house (the one we are currently still building). The first spring we were here I dug out (by hand) and planted wildflower seed in over 500 individual square plots making a strange checkerboard pattern dotting the 1/2 acre slope you will see below. I thought the plants would spread out of their squares and fill in the rest of the landscape but instead grass took over and tightly filled in the space between the plots, resulting in an *interesting* and unintentionally formal look.

By June of that spring, things weren’t growing fast enough for my newly fevered addiction to wildflowers so I was aching to do something more with my meadow. Ah-ha! A path! Somehow I convinced the Mr. to get 200 very heavy stepping stones from our local block plant for the 315 foot meandering path I had whimsically staked out with some lovely hot pink string. My Logic? How else does one enjoy their meadow if they can’t wander through it? :) Uh yeah, I’m a woman of big ideas and rarely consider the labor and effort it will take to execute them until I am way too far into it, not to finish. But I do finish… and have a tendency to add more as you will see.

By that Fall we had moved on to other parts of the land and discovered that we grow a lot of rocks here. What does one *do* with all of those rocks you ask? Well she thinks a stone wall along the new meadow path would be an absolutely FABULOUS idea! Oh dear, so the stone wall project began and we worked on that until the farm truck died (don’t ask). The stone wall project was then picked up the following spring as well as the ingenious idea to dig up all of the earth surrounding the plots and reseed. Apparently I needed MORE flowers! Oh my. I had a *vision* after all. :)

Of course I also decided that more sun was in order for all the fabulous new flowers that were to grow so the Mr. was then convinced to cut down a bunch of trees in the meadow to let the sun in. (My poor Mr. – a man of great patience and understanding). Well, digging stuff up by hand became quite arduous and after a few weeks my window of opportunity for spring seeding was closing fast (and my back was broken)… so we rented a tiller and tilled in the flat spots (of which there are few) and reseeded all of it. In doing so, we killed off a bunch of the perennials that would have shown up last summer but in the process gained the potential of having thousands more show up this year. However, Mother Nature had her own agenda. The overall floral showing last season was not very impressive due to the torrential rains that rotted a large share of the spring seeds. By the way – a large portion of those seeds were hand collected, dried and processed by me the previous summer, so their loss was twice as painful.

Not one to give up, I waited until the fall and reseeded again! 10 pounds of wildflower seed and a strange winter later – here I am waiting in breathless anticipation for what will come!

This concludes my lengthy background explanation of the Wildflower Meadow – my living painting - and brings us to photos shown below (of the meadow in its current dormant state):

The view from the porch…

A view from the top of the path…

Looking toward the woods…

Looking up toward the house from ¾ point in the path…

A view from the driveway…

Consider these the *before* pictures of the living painting. I promise to try not to bore you with any more lengthy explanations. From now on, just pretty pictures of whatever flowers pop up!

Come back tomorrow and I will let you in on the mystery of last week’s photo hint!


Miachelle said...

I had to smile reading your entry about visions and projects...our first house in MD I had a vision of a garden...made my husband nuts.

I love your hillside with the trees-that's so very pretty-I can only imagine that after a first snow it must be amazing.

Derek Andrews said...

What a lovely woodland setting. If that were in Britain I could just see it as a bluebell wood. Do they grow here in N.America?