“One cannot create beauty; One can only create circumstances favorable to it.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke-
Last time I posted I was waxing nostalgic about the delights of my home-state, but no ode to California would have been complete without mentioning the fantastic garden style of the Bay Area. In fact, I planned to include something about it among my ‘Postcards‘. I already had my whole spiel about the front-yard gardens of Berkeley all written up when, for the sake of editorial clarity, I decided to cut it.
Here’s what happened:
During a recent visit to my Dad’s house I went for a meandering walk through his North Berkeley neighborhood , studying the front-yard gardens as I went. The gardens there are lush, restrained, riotous with life, trees heavy with fruit and recycled art-displays, yards neglected into weeds. It’s all there in one city block, and it all adds up to a totally unique garden environment. But alas, here I was walking around the block feasting on the beauty, and with no camera.
Bloggers dilemma: How could I describe the magical quality of these gardens without pictures?
But then my awesome dad, Ross Powers who is an accomplished photographer and Berkeley gardener, saved the day. He responded to my last-minute request for “any good pictures of this garden style” with an email entitled : “10 great pictures”.
And they were.
Looking through his images I was struck with the way in which they capture the ephemeral, funky, spontaneous aesthetic that is ‘the Berkeley garden’, in both their subject and composition. Some of these pictures are of my dad’s own garden, moments of passing beauty and favorable circumstances, caught on film.
They were the perfect representation of this thing I wanted to describe: that the essence of unique style is a creative eye, translating a beautiful place.
I decided that my dad’s 10 great pictures needed to be a blog entry of their own.
And so, here they are.
(all photos courtesy of Ross Powers)
These last series of shots were taken at what I call the ‘junk art place’ in Berkeley. It’s a house near my Dad’s on Colusa (between Monterey and Sonoma) where the owner/artist -in-residence, Mark Oliver, has transformed his front yard into a scuplture garden made from re-purposed beach trash and detrius. Read more about his creations here and visit his website here.
(Oh, and readers, do you have any pictures of your favorite garden, in your favorite town? I’d love to see them and start a little collection. Who knows? Maybe if one day the circumstances are favorable to it, we’ll make something beautiful! )