I use the term "Value" often (always).
It is versatile.
It speaks of emotion, ethics, and the domestic.
Family Life - or how we live everyday.
It does this speaking simultaneous
with "price" and "cost."
It doesn't make it directly into the blog very often
but on the Project Buff Hort 'Gram page
you will see images and engagement with what I call
"The Buff Hort Life" or "The Floral Life."
This work is The Buffalo Horticulture Project
and is inseparable from Buffalo Horticulture
because to think about landscape and gardens
is to think about and imagine
ways in which we may wish to live.
Ways in which we live are economic at their core
and impossible to consider outside of dialogue with "The Market."
When we make our homes
as part of the dreams we try to make real
we are doing so with what is often our largest financial investment -
And so landscapes must be considered as a back and forth
between how we live and how we invest -
Yesterday, Erin sent me a list
(I'd like to think she sent it as a valentine, inviting me on tour)
"100 Gardens to Visit Before You Die."
And it stimulated this whole thing.
She works with florals
and I with landscape and gardens.
I think at first glance
it is imagined we are part of this field,
assembled and attached through our work
- like one is to their home. But
I see one's work as "What it is in dialogue with"
and none of these 100 greatest gardens,
at least as they are presented to me,
are in consideration of how we live
or how we may value them.
It is a different field of work.
A different form.
A different art.
Different rubric, another consideration and conversation -
My work is a back and forth between living and value -
recognizing the inseparability of living process, production, magic, and value.
Its a funny life. For all of time, this work, well, until social media, it was just something I did that was hidden away in people's back yards. It was pretty lonely. And even still, I was driving home from Cortland the other day, talking with 'Junior' and he got serious with more for a second, looked at me and said, "I'm just not really sure what it is that you do. Like. What is Buffalo Horticulture exactly?"
A while later, as Junior napped in the passenger seat, I saw on the right side of the thruway, a slope that had been bulldozed to the appropriate angle of repose and planted entirely with Little Bluestem - Little Bluestem, of course, because it is seen as a native and "natural" - planted on a perfectly angled slope at a bridge cutout, obviously man made...
"Junior. You see, everyone fetishizes nature, always, so much.
Buffalo Horticulture, ya' see,
Yes, I design, build, and care for landscapes and gardens
But, to me, they are urban
They aren't nature.
I mean - Ecologies, birds, wildlife, green infrastructure,
These are real things we consider
But nature is a different thing. We don't make it.
Soil, plants, concrete, turf grass - these are materials
And when I'm doing my work..."
"Look this up on your phone:
'Josef Albers United Nations window design"
"You see. When I'm working, I'm not looking at that..."
Pointing out to the wetland meadows along side of "The 90" between Leroy and Batavia
"...I'm thinking with images like this one from Albers of a window he designed."
Junior scrolled through his phone.
The window sketch never came up in "Images"
Just endless versions of Albers' "Homeage to the Square."
"Yeah. I mean. That not what I'm talking about, But...
Yeah. We can look at that one too."
It just seemed so complicated.
I kept trying to write these heavy and sophisticated essays as blog posts
But it was too much to articulate and communicate understandably.
And so maybe this blog at times should aim to be more journal like
Just to capture process and everyday work
Ways of thinking and being
Demonstrating the value.
For the first time in forever
I have been able to make reading a part of life again.
Generally before 6AM
With coffee and in the evening
between dinner and bed
with a pot of camomile tea and a melatonin. Sleeping is difficult.
For nearly five months (with some off days here and there)
I've weighed every bit of food
and track it on an app - "MyMacros+"
All with the intention of being the best runner I can be
(Its a better life for me, discipline and "other work).
The kitchen has become an intensely productive space where I spend most of my domestic time.
I've moved a chair from the living room in and I sit there;
its where I eat
and now read, under the swivel arm lamp of the work counter
for hours each day.
Its quiet here. For the most part, no one is around.
Although, my cat can be annoying.
I've been following publishers as much as gardeners or architects
And this had led to a steady flow of new reading material
Of which all seem to overlap in purpose
addressing work, creativity, labor, art, architecture, representation, process, or alienation,
But the textual collaborations and overlaps assembled prove too complex for "the blog."
It is Friday, January 11th.
My daily task lists are still unrelenting.
The work to do before March begins is more daunting than a production day in May.
I can't find a day of rest.
This morning's alarm went off at 4:15AM
I wanted the reading time before meeting "the suits" for a run at 5:45.
I drank three cups of coffee before leaving
and spent the morning later on trying to write an essay that was too complicated
Because in addition to my morning's reading
there is "daytime reading"
that is directly about gardens and landscapes.
And - its just not good enough.
"Buffalo Horticulture Riffs On The Classics: On The Greatest Gardening Tips of All Time." Number Two.
On The Conservation of Water.
This is post two of a series that takes its lead from a piece in Martha Stewart Living (May 2018) that offers "10 smart ways to help your plants thrive [while you] go truly, vibrantly green." I see them as classic "all-time" garden tips and rewrite them to situate their relevance in a Buffalo, NY context.
In "the garden literature" there is a lot written on how to use less water for your garden - a conservation that's practices' range from capturing rain water to planting plants that don't need water. To keep this contained I will have to offer my essay as a series of bullet points.
"Buffalo Horticulture Riffs On The Classics: On The Greatest Gardening Tips of All Time." Number One.
I am never able to finish a writing project. I start a new one every three to four days but inevitably drift off into a new problem. So, when I came across this short list in "Martha Stewart Living" I thought it would be a helpful exercise to offer a local expansion and commentary on the list of "10 ways to help your plants thrive and [for you] to go truly and vibrantly green' offered in the May 2018 issue. A quick and easy piece that allows me to retell 'the classics' - like doing a cover of the greatest and most common gardening tips of all time. "Buff Hort riff's on the classics."
"Keep it Quenched."
"Water deeply yet infrequently" is no new rule. It comes from two principles - (1) if you run a sprinkler for 20 or 30 minutes you may get the top 1/2 inch of soil wet. This will contain the roots of your plants to this same 1/2 inch horizon. Of course the sun and wind dry this top layer almost instantly necessitating another irrigating. This is when our second issue arrises. The frequent watering makes for constantly wet foliage and as anyone with a bathtub and a shower understands, these are ideal conditions for fungal growth and plant diseases can thrive. So the idea to "water deeply, infrequently." Instead of watering X amount of time everyday, water 7X the quantity of water weekly. The allows water to percolate and be drawn deeper into the soil, expanding the zone roots will grow in and find what the need, while keeping everything dry - thus limiting favorable fungal conditions - for long as possible.
As to whether you should water early in the morning or in the evening - I say, first and foremost, if the plants need water, water; just get the job done as soon as possible. But, if you and your plants have the privilege of being theorists the watering in the morning will allow the sun to dry the foliage quickly after irrigating. Manual watering is ALWAYS best; automated sprinkler systems are the decline of so many landscapes and gardens. They don't have to be, but the hope to automate the most delicate and sensitive of all horticultural operations never goes well.
We could write about and comment on techniques, tactics, and strategies of watering for a very long time. There are many specificities and exceptions - but, like gardening, it is an art; see this as a guide only and follow no hard rules. Let experience and your personal relationship to your plants and garden be your most referenced and used tools.
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Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture