3/27/2020 0 Comments
March 27th, 2020.
Landscape and Garden Life in the COVID/Wuhan World
Above are "Around the Home and Office" images. Been indoors a lot. A good time for some domestic ethnography. The Aldi (commodity) flowers just keep going and going.
Of note: I use the word "commodity" in a critical theory sense that refers to produced objects. However in recent reading I have seen "commodity" used to express "comfort."
I have been isolating very well. I think I have to follow good honest safety practices if I am to honestly continue to meet and consult others (at safe distances). I have an extended quarantine space that includes two people. In the field, we are each working with our own separate tools, wear latex gloves all day, maintain distance, and disinfect the controls in the trucks.
We applied and were granted "essential business" status after listing out a series of practices that were seasonally specific such as rejuvenation pruning and transplanting. Our application also listed out specific weeds and invasives such as Lesser Celandine and Buckthorn as species that will colonize and naturalize if not controlled. A few hours after we received out status to continue work, The Department of Ag and Markets declared all horticulture and landscape care work as essential so we are operating at full speed right now.
Clockwise starting at top left: Hellebore just emerging. Work at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Clean Hellebore leaf. What I believe to be Japanese Beetle grubs.
Early Spring Branch Forcing
I have been more committed than ever before to collecting some branches to force. With early flowering woody plant species, you can cut a branch, bring it indoors, put it water, and in a short time the buds will start to open. This week I collected branches of VanHouteii Spiraea, Magnolia, Quince, Forsythia, Crabapple, and Amelanchier.
The Aldi Flower Project
Well, honestly, its not much of a project. I just made a post last week about how I had bought some flowers at Aldi for $3.99 (x2), and that I generally think their flowers are awful (but at $3.99, what do you want?). But. Part of designing is figuring out how to use the materials available and at $3.99 I want to find a way to use them. Right now I would call them a bit of color amongst a number of other plants and branches I have around. Maybe they work in well in a situation where they aren't the main focus.
Point - I trimmed the bottom inch of stems off a few days ago and changed the water. I want to see how long they last. I'm on pace to get two or three weeks out of them.
Further...oftentime...I have so many friends that are Aldi shoppers and buy themselves flowers there as a little self-care item. Perfect. That is what they are for. But. If I could recommend, cut the stems down a third to a half the length they come in, and put them in a stubbier vessel. Flowers with long stems just thrown in a vase at home, uncultured, often aren't finding their full potential. Explore "arranging," its an art.
Indoor Plants. A Quick Note.
Indoor plants. I try. I think I have enough basic skills to keep my plants alive. I have some kind of wooly scale thing I have been mechanically managing on a plant for some time. Watering - well, I think less is better than too much but it limits a plants growth. Different kinds of containers, humidity, light - all things and details that have led me to only grow Peace Lillies and English Ivy in hanging containers (not really).
Of interest, something I have noticed or am suspicious of, is the character of my relation to the plants I imagine growing. I have had a lot of failures but I try and am engaged. I have a relationship with my plants. I talk to them (not really). There is an empathy. I'm listening. I'm trying to grow them, allow them to be healthy, thrive. When a plant doesn't do well, I feel I have failed. Most importantly, I imagine having the plant forever.
I suspect this is different from many. It seems now one is able to buy a $200 plant at Home Depot for $9. It is brought into the home as decor, maybe watered, and then after a few months, probably not more than 24, the plant is thrown in the garbage, disposable. They don't even get planted, they just stay in their black plastic container and placed in an ornamental pot, deployed as furniture.
This is all fine. Only, it is just a way of saying, "this is a different practice."
This Weeks Books and Reading.
I vary rarely finish a book. I don't really read from beginning to end. Books are things I think with and when I am sorting through something I explore books to help. So, if I list out the week's books, it doesn't mean I sat down and read them, it just means they are being carried around in my bag and I am actively using them as a tool.
Home: A Story Story of an Idea. Rybczynski, Witold. Pocket Books, New York, 1997.
This is morning reading. A nice history of the relationship of architecture, design, and home objects to ideas and senses of intimacy, privacy, and comfort.
The Vocation Lectures. Weber, Max. Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, 2004.
Not morning reading. I saw these lectures referred to in another essay and I thought I might find some nuggets in here to help think about another study on "anti-intellectualism."
Landscape Journal: Design, Planning, and Management of the Land. University of Wisconsin Press. Volume 37 Number 2 2018.
For all of time I have been searching for scholarly/University journals that engage in what I see my work as - there must be "a literature" somewhere.
From Matthew Dore, the "I" voice of Buffalo Horticulture and "The Buff Hort Project."