An Artist's Quest

Getting a grip on bounty… and braiding it!

This week I set myself the challenge of reining in the vast expanse of drooping draping bulb tops in my yard.  I will admit that part of my motive in setting this challenge on my blog was to kill two birds with one stone: bird one, get a grip on my burgeoning spring yard, bird two, do something artful for the blog.  Right away I set at it with a will.  I began braiding the bulb tops. Straightening and stroking each bundle, braiding and binding the chaos of green.  As I set about my task I thought about my childhood and my mothers ritual of washing we girls hair in the kitchen sink.  We would lie on the counter and she would wash our hair as if we where ladies at a salon.  After we would sit on a low stool and she would tediously untangle our hair and braid (or put it in sponge curlers) for the week.  This musing got me about three feet into my flowerbeds.  So I thought of my horseman dad, who is an expert braider, who has stories of braiding the tails of pack ponies and polo ponies alike.  That musing got me about two feet further on my mission to subdue the riot around me.  Next I thought about the last time I had braided all these bulbs, it was when my 14 year old was 3 or 4 years old and content to wander the yard with a train or two in hand making every board a train track, every rock a station.  It was a lovely time in my life where my focus was the wanderings and wonderings of an emerging little person, a slower version of life, slow enough to braid yard after yard of fallen foliage with the soft toot-toot of Thomas the Tank engine mingling with the buzz of bird and bee.  Ok that musing got me about 3 feet more.  I had barely taken the curve of the flowerbed!

Two hours in now I began to question my sanity, but as one who always takes homework seriously (even self imposed homework) I vowed not to quit.  I did take a break however, and on that first day of braiding went to have lunch in the refectory here at The Bishop’s Ranch with other Ranch staff.  I explained my personal challenge to the table of diners and they all decided to take a fieldtrip to my yard after lunch.  The reactions to my mania where varied, Cass, who is the Care taker here as well as a master gardener took one look and exclaimed “No Way” and walked off muttering something about knotting up bulbs would suit him fine.  I don’t blame him since while I can measure my bulb tops in yards he would more likely measure those drooping around the Ranch in miles.  Cecilia, who works in the office questioned me on the purpose of braiding did, it help the bulb in any way?  I explained that keeping the tops until they dry helps the bulb but braiding or knotting or leaving them lay makes no difference to the bulb.  Her response was “So you’re just showing off then!” I stammered and stuttered a bit while I pondered my answer.  I thought about saying it’s all about beauty and art and wabi-sabi blah, blah, blah… but in the end I said, “Yeah, it’s about showing off”.  Her response surprised and delighted me “I’m going to do it along my driveway where my neighbors can see it!”  Maybe we all like to show off every now and then.

I’ve put in hours each day this week and did not manage to completely control the chaos of fading foliage, but that’s ok, it’s been time well spent.  Meditating and musing, laboring and lingering, over time past and time spent, content to contain if not control.


2 responses

  1. Kitty

    Just curious, would you do this for pink/naked ladies? As they start to brown and linger that way through the summer before blooming, being braided would make them look better in the garden, but would it hurt them?

    May 6, 2011 at 9:33 am

  2. pamela

    brrading makes the plants tidy. They look better. It also allows them to re-groupe for the next bloom.

    May 6, 2011 at 9:58 am

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