Taking someone like me on a garden tour is like taking a crow to the symphony. The crow returns home and does one of three things: knowing it will never sound like the symphony, it shuts its mouth never to caw again; or, it purposely flies beak-first into an oncoming freight train to relieve the world of its hideous cawing; or, it resigns itself to cawing as best as it can and appreciates the work of the symphony musicians. This crow will try to choose the third thing, while she pleads with her pansies to bloom.
My friend Gail (whose own backyard could have been part of the tour, though she modestly and vehemently denies it) accompanied me on the PDAC Artful Garden Tour this past Saturday.
Holy Hollyhocks, Batman.
We gawked our way through some of the most amazing and creative feasts for the senses I have ever, um, sensed. Gorgeous trees, fragrant grasses, colorful flowers, bubbling fountains, and artfully arranged paving stones spelled one word to us: work! In some cases, the grass mowing alone looked like a full time job. Or the compost bins. Or the fish ponds. These folks don’t sit around on their asters, I’ll tell you that.
After picking our tongues up off the perfectly manicured landscaping, we walked away burdened with questions about the gardeners:
Where do they get the energy to maintain all this wonder?
Where do they come up with ideas?
Don’t they ever sleep?
Doesn’t everybody get the same 24 hours in a day?
Do they ever eat?
How have they not been carried off by mosquitoes?
Do they ever do anything else?
Do they have some special “in” with God or what?
Do they have any clue how amazing their artistic skills are?
Gail and I consoled ourselves by deciding the gardeners’ houses are probably a filthy mess, even though deep down we know they probably aren’t.
Thank you, Jeff and Lynn, Mitchell and Linda, Vern and Pat, Tristan and Gabriele, Cam and Beryl, and Chris and Sharon for welcoming us into your wonderful sanctuaries. George Bernard Shaw said, “The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” I don’t know about digging for God, but seeing your work helps me understand why he placed his first people in a garden. I hope you know he considers you a valuable partner in bringing beauty to a world that so desperately needs it.
Following the tour, Gail and I enjoyed lunch at the PDAC Gallery where we took in the current exhibit called “Double Vision,” and found ourselves doubly amazed. Twin sisters Debbie Richards and Diane Stewart are both textile artists. One lives in Ontario, the other in Saskatchewan. They start with a photo and an identical set of fabrics with which to interpret the picture, but do not see one another’s work until it’s complete. In the gallery, these finished pieces hang in pairs, one typically more traditional and the other more abstract. What we thought from a distance were stunning paintings are actually created from zillions of itty-bitty pieces of fabric. Sometimes additional beading, embroidery, or paint is added. It’s absolutely brilliant and you really must go see this exhibit while it’s here (through August 1). The Arts Centre is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm, and there is no admission fee.
Here’s what moves me most when I experience the creativity of all these remarkably gifted people: whether they acknowledge it or not, their talent reflects the one in whose image they were created. If a mere human can create such wonder, how wonderful must be the one who created the human?
That’s one thing I hope to keep crowing about until my final breath.