Still life

still life with Cinnamon fern fruitThe other day during lunch I cast my eyes around the room as I always do and instead of looking through it to my own messy thoughts I actually saw the clutter and made a mental note of it. And rather than just noticing a mess in need of a tidy – which it most definitely is – I saw how interesting the day to day clutter of our work is. Now, before you think this is just an ingenious way of procrastinating neatening, let me reassure you that I have no intention of making a permanent museum-display out of the stuff. But part of me does, of course, want to interpret it for you. I’ll spare you that too though and only confess that I did take a little license and removed a box of Miracle-Gro Miracid from one of the still lifes. (I’m loathe to give that company any placement in a picture but have to admit that Miracid, applied by Gail a couple of times over late summer, is responsible for the re-greening of yellowing citrus leaves.)

still life with cardoons and teaselstill life with honeycomb

Heading full-speed as we are into the Thanksgiving/re-opening-day week it’s abundantly clear that life is not still at all. In fact, isn’t this when we’re all in a big hurry to clean up the residual unintentional still lifes of summer (if we haven’t already *ahem*) and make new intentional ones? still life with sparkly ribbonMaybe one reason we decorate and go through all of the hoopla of setting tables and carefully laying out food, is for the glimpse of stillness we get in the microsecond before plates are heaped and passed. And maybe one reason to visit the mansion over the holidays is to take a moment’s pause in the freeze frame of lavish decoration and sparkle.

The onset of winter itself begins to resemble a still life too – some life is dormant anyway – and we gardeners at least might take a little solace in quiet winter landscapes during the frenzy of the season. I know I will (probably right before pie). You too?

still life with lichenstill life with Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

3 thoughts on “Still life

  1. I love your writing, Kris. Like the still life, it always settles me down and gets me thinking. One of the things I loved getting to see when I was there was the sublime space you work in! Yes, I mean the greenhouse and the potting bench, the shelves, and even the old basement! Lots to rest your eyes upon in a room that seems built for contemplation, or at least good tea and cookies. There’s a lot of quiet solace in winter, but I’ll be in Berkeley hoping for plenty of energizing sun and that Cali light!

    More kind words – thank you, Lynn! I think about your visit a lot and hope you’ll come back soon. In the meantime please give Berkeley a high five for me (I’m so envious – that’s one of my very favorite places… and where I had my first gardening job, come to think of it!) -kris

  2. Beautiful photographs, beautiful sentiments, beautifully written. Thanks for that Thanksgiving present, Kris. Have a lovely Thanksgiving and easy on the baklava.


    Thank you for the gift of such kind words! And I’ll be saving room in my hollow leg for pumpkin cheesecake… -kris

  3. I am trying to remove clutter before this holiday but it is not quite as picturesque as the clutter in your greenhouse. It is in the quiet contemplation that one truly ‘sees’ isn’t it? I wish for you, Gail, Fred, Dan and the Blithewold team a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Thank you, Layanee! (And you know I had to be creative with my camera angles!) -kris

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