Monday, February 16, 2009

Landscape with Chair and Bench

A patch of dirt, a place to sit, a structure over one's head. Do these not constitute a garden? Most certainly, I say.

Perhaps it has become a cliche these days to opine that a garden is a state of mind. Yet here it is - an elegant pergola rests partially on a sawhorse and a chair. The chair seems to have been upended for the nonce, but benches sing with the colors of growth, and the scent of earthy mulch twitches the senses. Overhead floods and spots deconstruct into intriguing shadows on the ground.

All this, in the midst of a wintry month, is nothing if not a welcome sight.

Jim Osman's installation is on exhibit at the Brooklyn campus of the Long Island University Humanities Gallery (first floor Humanities Building, gallery hours 9-6,) till the end of February.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Name that Plant

One is constantly surprised by what a plant might throw up in one's face. For example, I had no idea what this plant was when I first encountered it over ten years ago.

Later I surmised that my plant was a kelanchoe. Much, much later on, with more information, I concluded it to be K. delagoensis, aka Chandelier Plant, or Mother of Millions, or Mother of Thousands.

I had first discovered its spindly stem crawling out of a cracked seam from the rotting wooden windowsill in my previous studio; there was no dirt, unless one counts dust. I kept a watchful eye over it, though I never took any active caring steps with it. Yet through thick and thin, mostly thin, (and it remained skinny,) my studio companion weathered the years with me. When the time came for me to leave that studio, I understood my unofficial mascot was accompanying me. So, carefully I dislodged the plant from its place in the sun and brought it home - in time, to be potted up and reside in the new greenhouse.

And how did it do in its new abode? See for yourself. Above is a picture of my particular kelanchoe, prayerful, if a bit fangy, in its first year of life in potted soil.

But beware: do not - I repeat - do not let it loose. Those coiners of common names for plants do not jest, all those epithets: mother of thousands, mother of millions. They mean it: really I'd say mother of trillions, mother of gazillions - for once one of those cute wee little clinging babies hits pay dirt, each has no qualm at all about growing up to become...


And yet, and yet...
Look again, see what grows on top. One has to, yet again, hand it to the plant-namers:


Wednesday, February 4, 2009