Ahh native!  What a beautiful buzzword these days.  We have had some great discussions/debates on this term and I'm beginning to define in this way, a plant that finds itself suitable to the local surroundings with healthy growth outside of any special or intensive care, so much so it has become a regularly used and plentiful offering at local nurseries.  I think the debate with native and non-native becomes too convoluted when you consider invasive vs. non-invasive.  I compare it to placing myself in the Chinatown district of San Francisco (or any other Chinatown in the U.S.).  I was born and raised in the United States. I have never traveled across an ocean.  My home is here in the U.S. It is my NATIVE country. But place me in the heart of Chinatown and the rules, the customs, the culture, the people, the food, everything changes.  My previous experiences are not at all suited for success in those surroundings.  Chinatown is in California.  California is in the U.S. so I should feel native right?  No way.  If you bring a plant over from Japan where it lives in the same elevation, same relative humidity, same season patterns, same temperature ranges, same soil makeup, then why in the world would we consider it unsuitable for local propagation and use? 




I miss my garden.  At our old house in Memphis, I worked diligently for years making something I would be proud of.  It was a fun process.  I acquired plants from family, friends and neighbors.  Sharing the same was all too fun.  Every year I looked forward to spring.  Cleaning up leaved and uncovering fresh shoots of Gladiolas, hostas even more than years before, ferns uncurling to welcome the warmer sun.  I would add something this year, not like something there so remove it, plant it somewhere else or just chuck it into the trash bin.  It was never perfect, never would be.  Never could be in fact.  It was a place of escape for me. The plants were quiet but alive.  They relied on me for somethings but gave me plenty in return. When the cut-flowers were plentiful, I could make bouquets for Sarah and even take them to work.  Flowers are for sissies…whatever, real men cultivate beautiful things.  Maybe it isn't flowers but to me, beauty is grown with time and care.  And true men are respected for the beautiful things they can call there own.  Think of the shiny cars, trophy wives, ginormous TV's.  I believe men strut their chests for such things is their way of gathering beauty around them.  Unfortunately, those objects reflect nothing more than the money it took to purchase them.  I'll trust a man with tasty carrots or a prized hydrangea any day.
I wanted to share some great quotes from a chapter of Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This particular chapter speaks to the intricacies of our world and how they speak to a creator.  Definitely worthy of a few minutes to read the quotes or even using the link above to check out the book as a whole. 

  • In other words, even On the perfectly ordinary and clearly visible level, creation carries On with an intricacy unfathomable and apparently uncalled for. 
  • This is the truth of the pervading intricacy of the world's detail: the creation is not a study, a roughed-in sketch; it is supremely, meticulously created, created abundantly, extravagantly, and in fine.
  • Look, in short, at practically anything-the coot's feet, the mantis's face, a banana, the human ear-and see that not only did the creator create everything, but that he is apt to create anything. He'll stop at nothing.
  • Landscape consists in the multiple, overlapping intricacies and forms that exist in a given space at a moment in time. Landscape is the texture of intricacy..
  • The question from agnosticism is, Who turned on the lights? The question from faith is, Whatever for?
Some really good stuff and right on point with my own musings of how incredibly complex this world is.  A complexity that in simple common sense, seems much to big for an unaided bang.





In our studios, we've been talking a lot about connectivity.  One part of landscape architecture I've never really thought much about is the network of pollinators.  Bees, birds, small animals.  I've never been challenged or inspired to think about the importance of these little creatures to the overall success of natural design.  Makes complete sense though. Flower stock will be much fuller if the good ole' birds and bees process is allowed and even encouraged to happen.  Nothing like some good stamen swappin to get some good garden color.  I quickly realized the network of interdependent species.  The bees polinate, the birds eat and poop seeds. those seeds grow plants or even weeds, those plants hydrate, loosen, and fertilized the soil, worms enjoy the improved soils, birds eat the worms, more birds dropping more seeds broods more flowers for the bees to enjoy.  It is all a masterful work!




The time period between opening the door to go to the car and actually having a 4 year old and 2 year old buckled, myself seated, and the car backing out from our parking space.  Have shoes? no. Put them on. But I don't have socks on. Well go get them. They are in the car. Why are they in the car? Nevermind.  Go up to your room and get some more socks. Where is your sister? Daddy, look a cat. That's great, go ahead and get in the car.  I can't open the door.  It is unlocked.  I still can't open the door.  Why? It's too heavy.  Well it wasn't too heavy when you were not supposed to be in the car.  Nevermind.  I open the door. Go ahead and get buckled in while I get your sister.  Ok.  Whitney, you ready?  I can't find socks. Did you try your dresser?  Yes, Haley took out all my socks. Where are they?  In the dirty clothes.  Just find a pair and come downstairs.  Yes, sir.  Ok, where are your shoes?  I left them upstairs.  HONK!!  Haley, stop pretending to drive and get in your seat.  Can you tie my shoes. Sure.  These shoes are too tight.  Just because your shoes aren't crocs doesn't mean they are too tight.  These will be fine.  Get into the car.  We are running late now.  Haley, why aren't you in your seat.  Don't know.  Lets go, in your seat.  Ow, the buckle hurts.  Sorry.  Its hot. It will cool off once I start the car.  Daddy, the belt is locked.  I'll have to take it out of the seat to unlock it, just a sec.  Click.  Everybody ready?  I'm thirsty.  
Got a new cast.  We will be friends for 6 weeks.  It is wonderful to be able to bend my elbow again.  Still some healing to do on the elbow but the black cast is much lighter and easier to manage.

Walking is slow but sure.  Great to be mobile. I'm back to class and back to a full schedule.  Will miss a field trip this friday due to the amount of walking involved and the wheelchair isn't option due to off-road conditions.  Other than that and cross-country meets, I manage quite well. :)  Though being on 2 feet comes with some nice new aches and pains. 

Latest foot pics - click





If you know me, you know I love Jesus!  Worship is a connection to my creator like none other. As I WALKED into church this morning (yes, walked. first time in a month) I was able to STAND and sing.  It is one of those things I take for granted, standing to sing to God.  I would imagine if sitting was my lifetime future, it would be one of those things I would dream heaven would be, a body able to stand and worship.  God doesn't value the standing, but my own spirit does.  There is honor on two feet.  Respect. Value. Admiration.  All things God deserves and I wish to give to Him. 

Today, I was able to stand as I sang this song. My tears poured thinking if Jesus was near, I would find a way to RUN to him.  No matter if my feet will allow, I have trained for a month in running to Him. At doctors, trying to sleep, getting dressed, trying to type, I have run to God.

You are peace, You are peace 
When my fear is crippling
Laying on Atlanta Highway, God's peace poured down. Cars are big while watching your scooter get hit by another car.  The ground is unforgiving.  Blood is scary. But peace is plentiful by way of God's provisions, as simple as a sheriff's car directly to my left.

You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

On that street and in His presence, I was made whole.  Arm broken, skin torn and bleeding, God was still a GOOD God, and I had nothing else to hold on to.

Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
I laid looking up, head restrained, to a clear blue sky and a white moon.  That sky wrapped its arms around me in radiant blue.  The same blue sky since creation.  The same sky to last until Christ's return.

Click Read More to view the lyrics to the song above, Forever Reign by Hillsong United.




Decay is normally found to be a negative thing.  The term conquers up thoughts of death, rot, and deformation.  What about the good side of decay?  I enjoy raisins and you think about it, they are decayed grapes.  Sauteed mushrooms on a steak, yep, relative to decay.  You think about something directly associate with the negative side of decay, tooth decay.  Well, it isn't pretty nor without pain but if that tooth didn't decay and eventually fall out, all that pain would be a permanent fixture in your toofers. I bought tons of mulch when I started landscaping my garden.  I didn't have all the money needed to make a show-stopper landscape plan from the start so phases were a necessity.  Areas around small plants got the expensive garden soil, the rest of the garden spaces, four inches of cheap mulch.  Over 4 years of rain, sunlight, and our good ole bug friends, that mulch decayed into some great dirt for all the plantings expanding out from the original few.  My hostas, ferns, groundcovers, lilies, perennials and annuals loved the food and place only decay could provide. 




The defining point between good design and bad.  Even the most detailed landscape design will lack pop or interest if there is not variety of textural form.  The eye loves moving from tiny details and surfaces to massive, sweeping leaf forms and everything in-between.  Your eye is given the opportunity to move from here to there, connecting similar shapes and textural cues.  Texture is the guiding force of compositional movement, the unsung hero of space.  Everyone loves color, it is undeniable and powerful.  Everyone responds to the line, whether a path, wall, or lawn.  But texture, every material has built in texture or the ability to define its texture. I find this simple tool to delineate the creative from the canned.  Even the same plant can be altered in form to reflect a plethora of textures.  Take the Yaupon Holly, grown wild, it runs and sprigs.  Clipped and hedged, it can become a soft and full carpet.  




The natural world plays a nifty trick on us inhabitants.  Seems there is an unwritten rule that says before something can get better, it has to get worse.  I've found that very true lately with my foot.  That foot is downright nasty at times doing its thing to get better.  I even had doctors ripping scabs off to allow for better healing (didn't our parents always say to leave those scabs alone?) I've experienced the same thing with landscape restoration.  So often home landscapes get in the hands of people who don't know what they are doing or just plain don't care.  So much has to be ripped away before there is room for the appreciated, the beautiful, or even the functional.