15 Rosy Ways of Looking at Perspective

Writing a story to a photo challenge teaches you to be an expert blogger. Short action-filled sentences, pictures every 100 words hold readers’ attention.

#Sunday Stills

The online dictionary gives two definitions of perspective and lists 14 synonyms. The first definition pertains to art and the second to attitude. Telling the story of perspective in Sunday Stills, one synonym at a time.

#1 Position

The Woodlake Rose Garden sits at the bottom of a levee around Bravo Lake. From this position on the floor of the garden, you see there are thousands of roses, but the colors in the back blur to pinpoints against the green.

#2 Vantage Point

This is one of my favorite pictures with the Double Delight Floribunda in the foreground forcing the rest of the garden to blend into the backdrop of Sierra foothills .

#3 Stance

From the stance of standing on the levee, you can see the clusters of pink floribundas in the foreground and Miller Brown Park in the background. From this perspective you see one lone rose which shows that the rose bush was not well-pruned.

#4 Slant

Stand in the same position as the picture above, but slant your camera to the right and you pick up a different color scheme of roses. You have pulled away from your close up perspective, so that the viewers attention focuses on the striking brown foothills against the blue sky rather than the single rose. Even though the color is not as rich as the picture above, the slant makes a more interesting picture.

#5 View (the art)

This view is almost identical to the last two pictures, but you have turned to the right again eliminating the path and presenting only an undefined sea of color and no bridge or open space in the park.

#6 Angle

From this angle, you see the white roses reaching toward the sky, with sunlight exposing their delicate veins. Like the first picture, you are among the roses, but your lower stance highlights their beauty.

#7 Frame of Reference

In this picture you see four distinct frames of reference, the reporter on the left, Chuck House, the Kiwanian who came up with a brilliant plan to help the city take care of the garden, Laura, the Master Gardener on the right and her husband, Bill who was along for the joy of seeing the flowers. Chuck, the former nursery owner, gave them a lesson in rose history as they search for a name and frame of reference for each flower.

#8 Approach

In this picture high school students learned the Master Gardeners’ approach to pruning roses. They are putting in community service hours by doing much needed winter pruning.

#9 Frame of Mind

Usually these guys sit on the bench in the Rose Garden and drink alcohol. When we come to work in the garden, they hop up, pick up whatever tools we bring, and get to work cleaning up their “front yard.” They work harder and faster than anyone. Most of them are field workers by trade, and know what they are doing. They ask for nothing in return and are grateful that we are helping to keep their space clean and beautiful. We give them what we bring for the students, water and snacks.

#10 Way of Looking/Thinking

This broken valve could be a problem or an opportunity. One Kiwanian in our group looks at this broken sprinkler as an opportunity. We have an opportunity to make sure the roses get the water they need during the hot, dry Central California summer. Sprinklers break constantly. The City of Woodlake staff can’t keep up with them all.

Before we started helping, some in the city would have preferred to pave the Rose Garden because it was such a headache. When the water leaks, the public complains because their water is restricted, so water leaks have to be taken care of promptly. It would have been much easier for the city to turn off the water and let the roses wither. So fixing this sprinkler provides Kiwanians an opportunity to preserve the rosy treasure.

#11 Attitude

Sally Pace is the hardest worker on the planet. She weighs all of 90 pounds and gladly hoists a 30-pound backpack sprayer to make sure that weeds are sprayed with both pre-emergent and weed-killer.

Before Kiwanis pitched in to help in the Rose Garden, the Johnson grass was taller than Sally. Now we can keep it under control with much fewer chemicals and back-breaking hoeing. She also fixes the water lines, brings the snacks, water, garden equipment, and tells the students their tasks during work days.

And she prunes.

#12 Outlook

Visitors come to the Rose Garden from all over Tulare County, but few come with the outlook of these wonderful women. Each time Linda Tan comes, she brings more and more friends. Today they deadheaded hundreds of roses after they walked around the lake. They have no self-interest other than helping us out.

#13 Point of View

From the point of view of the City of Woodlake, this system of collaboration works well. Everyone pitches in and they work harder and put more man power into the Garden each week. We enjoy an excellent relationship with the City and Operations Managers, both Woodlake High School graduates.

#14 Point

For a bee, roses are the nectar of life. Attracted to their beautiful colors they scramble to suck up as much sweet rose juice as they can. Since the planet’s ecosystem depends on bees for fertilization, we have come the full circle with this point.

#15 View (the attitude)

In my view, Woodlake Rose Garden would not be possible without the vision and hard work of Manuel Jimenez, his wife Olga, and non-profit organization, Woodlake Pride Coalition. They dedicated their lives to making Woodlake a place of pride, and turned dry ground into a beautiful oasis. They created a botanical garden of exotic species of fruits, vegetables, and flowers for everyone to enjoy.

Manuel and Olga Jimenez

For additional Sunday Stills Perspectives, check out Terri’s blog. I also recommend that you take squares and you can also participate in Becky’s July Squares – Perspectives.

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Three Easy Steps to Make Your Garden a Work of Art

Plan, Plant, and Purchase sums up the three easy steps to turn your garden into a work of art.

back yard bordering new garden area
Looking into BellaVista Gardens Northeast Garden

Landscape architects tell you there are rules to obey when designing a garden if you want it to be a work of art. My husband and Dr. Manuel Jimenez, a friend and small farm advisor emeritus for UC Davis just dig in, and they have beautiful gardens. 

Another friend, Jack Pizura of Wicky-Up Ranch Bed and Breakfast says, “I’ve done all these things over the years, and they come out, but I couldn’t tell you what I’ve done.”

Doesn’t that sound like most of us? When something comes naturally to us or we’ve done it so often, we can’t explain how we did it.

As a non-landscape artist, non-horticulturists, I’ve come up with my own rules based on observing others as they fashion something beautiful out of bare land.

Marsha’s Rules

Step One – Plan Your Layout

“Hardscape, Marsha. You have to start with hardscape.”

Vince Ingrao

Warning: This phase can take a LOT of time!

Last spring when we started planning our Northeast Garden, my husband asked me to draw out what I wanted in the big garden.

“Write it down,” his rule for me not for himself. He works by vision and talking it out.

Not being artistic I panicked and found a garden planning site and spent most of the day researching what plants grew best together. You might find this helpful, but I found it hard to use it as a design tool. The plant information was great, though.

My husband looked at my plan and said instantly that it wouldn’t work.

“Where’s the structure? You can’t fit that many plants into that amount of space? What do you want from your garden anyway?

Ouch, he had a point. Although some people do, I knew I wasn’t going to supply our entire food source from the garden. I was stumped and our garden languished for a year.

“I like to watch things grow,” Vince’s sister commented.

“Yes,” I thought. “It’s that simple.”

Plants are beautiful, and I enjoy looking at my garden as much as I enjoy eating from it. So Vince designed Section One of the Northeast Garden. He terraced the garden into two sections using the repurposed cement and began shaping the lower section.

Fewer plants enjoyed the room to grow in raised rows and rock pathways. I would not have made the paths so wide, but it’s working well. I appreciate that now. Fewer plants mean it’s a lot less work. I can live with that. Harvesting is very time-sensitive and time-intensive work.

I planted the strawberries and beets. He brought in the bathtub – a garage sale find that has been unused in the back forty for at least ten years.

In January, Vince needed a project before he could tackle the garden again. He began to plan outside with a measuring tape and the vision in his head. First, he envisioned a bridge over the gully, where the creek will go someday .

There still was no plan for irrigation in the garden. You can not garden in the Central California Valley without irrigation unless you want to hand water every day. That’s what I have been doing for five years in the South Garden.

Bridge to BellaVista Gardens

Over the years, I’ve learned that one can’t fight with visions. No amount of coaxing is going to speed up the process. One of the things I love about Vince has been his ability to imagine a space and create something beautiful from nothing. I can’t do that.

However, Vince was not motivated to plant a garden. He finished a pathway around the palm tree made with cement from a project completed sixteen years ago. Manuel, my horticulture mentor, lined one of his garden areas in ornamental cabbage, so I bought the ornamental cabbage to line the path. Still no plan for irrigation. He loves to hand water every morning. I think it must start his creative juices. It doesn’t do that for me.

Nutter Butter enjoys the bridge but could care less about the cabbage. He looks forward to digging in the garden and adding his own touches.

When Vince asked me in April what I wanted to plant in the upper garden, I told him that I wasn’t lifting a finger until there was a watering system. I was done. I lied, of course, but I refused to give him any ideas and said the garden was his. The next day he had a vision for the irrigation system.

Newest landscape elements, rocks defining the tomato area, a retaining wall behind the tomato area, steps to the third terrace, old farm implements, and a garden-store-bought planter wreath without plants.

Encouraged, I planted some tomato and eggplant six-packs, while he got sidetracked by additional design elements. Within a few more days he and Hector Casteneda, the handyman/gardener/ who makes all of Vince’s projects doable, had built another terrace and a set of steps down to my new and improved composting area.

The design is not finished but he repurposed two loose extra sections of the fence that had been just leaning up against the back of the fence for nineteen years and some rocks from around the back – a mystery where he found them. Who knew all that stuff would be so handy?

Vince and a friend dug the stove from our friend’s field. Notice where the legs ended up.

As of May 18, the upper section irrigation was not finished, but as you can see, I couldn’t wait to start planting. The result was that I lost ninety percent of my bean plants and fifty percent of my squash. I replaced most of them with seeds. The South Garden still awaits irrigation.

You really need a plan, and part of the hardscape in this area needs to be irrigation.

Step Two – Plant Like Vegetables in One Area

Garden experts agree that you should plant a lot of what you like and plant it together, not scattered throughout the garden.

rows of blueberries

My husband loves blueberries, so he mentally designed our new garden to have a patch of blueberries. (Not three like I bought from the nursery. ) They cost $12.95 apiece, and I felt I had splurged buying three plants. Eighteen blueberry plants now mark the start of the Northeast Garden in rows fanning out from the fence line in three rows of diminishing numbers of plants – 7-6-5.

As a side note, my friend Manuel is the hybridizer or inventor of the types of plants that make it possible to grow blueberries in the super-heated, semi-arid climate in the Central Valley of California.

The lone blueberry bush – ah, where is it?

In my South Garden, there is one blueberry plant amid some leftover strawbabies and mint babies that Vince would not let me put in the Northeast Garden. I’ve stored them there temporarily/semi-permanently. You probably would agree with Vince and other garden design experts that the blueberry plant doesn’t make a statement.

What about volunteers?

My South Garden – totally under my control now that the design elements are done has evolved into an experiment, much like my blog. That is a design flaw. To have a beautiful garden, you must not let these little babies sway you into letting them stay.

These blackberries started growing in a limited place in my small garden. I left them where they were, but put them in their own dirt in a small pot. I have a place for them next year in the big garden.

Manuel who created the Woodlake Botanical Garden might commingle two or three types of vegetables – a row of tomatoes next to a row of carrots, for example. Plants that grow well together in the same place, but they don’t take up the same air or root space increase your garden’s yield. Putting varieties of plants together works when you know what you are doing but it can get messy.

This gem is growing on the cusp of Terrace Three where my compost pile was this winter. The soil is dry, rocky and nothing should live, let alone flower.

High-yield gardening is not the same as random planting or allowing volunteer plants to overtake and manage your garden. I am guilty of the latter. I can’t bear to get rid of a healthy-looking plant. I’m so proud of it for surviving and surprising me by its presence.

Step Three – Purchase or Make Decorative Elements

 Themes allow the non-artist to contribute to the overall look. The BellaVista Garden is rusty. Sometimes you can buy decorative pieces in garden stores, handcrafted shops, or home goods stores. That’s my speed. It can also be expensive for very small items.

Repurpose

Really great garden pieces are bigger and more unique than you can find in stores. Manuel builds fountains out of old farm implements for his gardens.

He brought in a building-migrant housing, a tractor, and now is building a porch with a house front.

In our case, the fence defined the space. Vince wanted rusty Rebar, so he found someone who would make the fence. Over the years it has rusted to perfection.

The fence is rusty. How many other rusty elements can you find? I see eight.

We found our own yard art sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign. We had driven by it for probably a year, then one day I said, “I wish we had a business or something. I love that truck.”

Before I could blink, Vince turned the car around and was already dialing the number on the sign. We had it towed home. Yesterday Valero Brothers in Woodlake, CA moved it to the garden. Vince has plans to lift the back of the truck and add steps with rows of flowers cascading down. Or possibly a tailgate party look with a shade cover. Then he will whitewash a sign on both doors that says, “BellaVista Gardens.”

Additional Gardening Posts

Creative Gardening Ideas

Spring Inspires Gardening Chores

Lessons Learned from Sheltering in Place – Harvesting Lettuce

Lessons Learned from Sheltering at Home

I’ve learned to appreciate you – and what you do. 

Some of you have been doing creative things on the computer with Zoom and other communicating programs. I love the music videos compiled from various performers operating from their home. That’s not what I’ve been doing.

In Tulare County, California, we have the second-worst COVID-19 statistics in the state. For that reason, unless I have to go out, I shelter at home. The weather has been perfect for gardening – 70 to 80 degrees. Ultra-violet light is supposed to be good for us, and here in the Golden State, we have plenty of sunshine.

The most important lesson I have learned this week is an appreciation for the people who process food. 

Yesterday, I chopped off two beautiful lettuce plants to make room for a summer crop of cantaloupe. If you think growing the food is work, then be prepared. Harvesting is much more work, and if you let it go, your crop and months of effort are wasted. 

Steps to Harvest Lettuce

First rinse

Warning! Don’t immediately take fresh lettuce or leafy plants in your house. You might be safe if you harvest a few leaves at a time but don’t count on it.

When you cut off lettuce be prepared for several unappealing things to happen. 

  • First, the bottom leaves are wilted and mushy. 
  • Secondly, bugs emerge from within the safety of the leafy bundle. Earwigs scurry out of the plant and carpet the soil in a mad dash to save themselves from sure destruction.
  • I immediately plopped the plants upside down into a bucket of water. A few roly-poly bugs surfaced during the first rinse.
  • Slugs leave their shells behind and burrel into the plant. 

So, rinse OUTSIDE! The lettuce soaked in a large pail of water for an hour or so. With the lettuce removed, you can see all the dirt that came off.

Second rinse

Inside, I stripped the leaves off the core and tossed the core, and the scummy leaves into a compost bucket. I added dish soap to this wash. The water came out mildly dirty compared to the water from the first rinse.

Third rinse

I thought this would be the end of the rinsing, but stubborn pieces of garden soil clung to the crevices of the curly lettuce. Bugs had left their brown marks on the center of the leaf. The compost bin grew, but I still had more lettuce than we could use in a month.

Fourth rinse and packaging

This last rinse came out clean. I let the lettuce drain and dry for about a half-hour, then packed the leaves into plastic bags with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. The towels help the leaves stay fresh for a long time. I’ve kept them for a month and the leaves came out crispy and sweet as though I had just picked them.

The discarded leaves went into a compost heap outside in the back of the garden. 

Harvesting and Processing Peas

It takes time to shell peas, but it’s an easy task. You need a knife to save your fingers, a clean bowl for the peas, and a compost bucket for the shells. This was the final harvest of peas which I gleaned off the bushes I pulled off the fence.

I put the peas into a Ziplock bag with a paper towel inside and stored them in the refrigerator. Google says that they last 3-5 days like this, but you can tell if they are going bad. I found that they last much longer.

Harvesting and Processing Strawberries

Strawberries must be picked twice daily, but not processed that often. If I don’t get them, the birds, roly-poly bugs, or slugs will. I store up the berries until I have enough to serve, no more than a day or two. After that, I process them simply by slicing them and adding sugar. My husband wants me to dry them in the oven, but that takes three hours so I haven’t tried it. 

Today I found this strange strawberry. Since almost every seed had sprouted, I planted it. We will see what happens.

Thanks to Food Processing Workers

So today I offer my thanks to all the workers who do the processing that goes into the food I normally buy from the grocery store in a nice clean package with everything included. 

And don’t even get me started on how much I respect those who run restaurants! I will never take any of you for granted ever! 

Next time tribute to farmers!

What have you learned during your time of sheltering at home? 

Winter Garden in Central California

Evening comes early now in Elderwood, CA. Mornings are chilly, yet the sun is still hot in the afternoon. It seems to be the perfect time of year to enjoy the fruits of winter gardening.

Many varieties of lettuce planted from nursery sets grow across the isle from broccoli planted from seeds.

I am not a gardener, but as a kid, I loved playing in the dirt. Nothing changed as I aged except now I have the time and space to play again. Each year I learn something new.

Vince read an article the other day that talked about growing enough food on an acre to make $20,000 a year. It told me to plant my plants much closer that they are supposed to be and to intersperse varieties. You can see in my broccoli bed above, I planted spinach and Swiss chard. Right now it looks pretty and sparse. That will probably change.

You can see at the end of my box some very healthy, happy onion sets in neat rows, those that the cats didn’t rearrange. Last year I learned that gophers love onions. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every day I would find a new fatality. This year I planted the sets in a raised bed with wire netting on the bottom to keep out those silly pests.

The rest of the box has not yet fully transitioned to a winter garden. I can’t bear to remove the marigolds. Last year I pulled off thousands of marigold flowers and kept ALL their seeds. I stored them in a clear plastic bag and only a few of the seeds escaped the solar cleansing of their sprouting power. This was one of the hardy few seeds that bore children.

Basil seeds, on the other hand, survived the Ziploc bags and are ubiquitous. The basil will wilt at the first frost, but they are all volunteers and I have more seeds than you can imagine. I cut them and keep them inside for Caprese salads, a favorite in an Italian household. The lemongrass seems indestructible. Along with cilantro, these spindly hairs of flavor spice up an Asian salad. Spinach and dill are reluctant to sprout. I’ve planted them both from seed packets I bought.

Vince wanted only flowers this year in this garden.

The pictures aren’t close up enough to show you that I do have a few flowers sprinkled in with the new strawbabies that I just planted yesterday from all the runners. I still have about 100 runners to plant somewhere if you’d like some strawberries for next spring.

I lined peas along the fence. The green starfish looking plant with light purple flowers at the end of the strawberries is a gift from my friend Sally.

I am also propagating more Mexican pansies that Manuel Jimenez cut from plants in the Woodlake Botanical Garden. The new ones sticking up against the fence behind the cauliflower look wilted now, but by spring I’m hoping that some of them make it. They have beautiful purple flowers and are very invasive, so if you have them, they are like mint – hard to remove.

Kale, hollyhocks may be in danger from either the ant, grasshopper or the truck, but I’m rooting for the plants to win.

I like to experiment, but not in an organized, scientific-write-everything-down way. A friend gave me some mint plants years ago. They took over my blueberries, so I tore them all out.

They still grew into a forest on the other side of the fence in my neighbor’s yard. I love the smell and the taste of them so I cut a few of them that started to invade my blueberry bushes again and stuck them into leftover pots. Guess what? You can’t kill them! They’re back. On the plus side, I hear that mint makes you lose weight. I guess it would if that’s all you ate.

In the picture below, you can see that I did plant some snapdragons for Vince. I planted two rows of spinach seeds to be a nice green contrast. Interestingly, cosmos, which had been planted this summer sprang up when I started watering, not spinach. And they didn’t stick to the nice straight rows I thought I had planted. Who knows what happened to all those spinach seeds.

Even the seeds love to frolic in the dirt. The flats of flowers I buy from the nursery are much better behaved.

Today I raked leaves to make a light blanket for the seedlings. I’ve heard that leaf mold is an excellent soil builder.

The cauliflower plants are big enough to see over the mounds of mulberry leaves, but I had to scratch a hole in them to find the strawberry plants.

Even though my garden is more walkway than garden, it’s amazing how many plants we can fit into this small space. My tiny garden produces much to keep me munching for the next few months. Imagine planting an entire yard as a garden!

So, are you gardening this winter? Or if you’re in Australia, this summer?

Gourdeous Works of Art

I have long admired the work of Toni Best, a retired teacher. A couple of years ago my husband and I toured her house and studio where she does all her work. She teaches classes at home and around the country.

South Valley Artists' Studio Tour
Toni Best weaves a backdrop for one of her wood sculptures.

Active nationally Toni belongs to several national basketweaving organizations two of which include the National Basketry Organization (NBO) and the Handweavers Guild of America. She will be traveling to attend the NBO conference in July to display two pieces.

Free Form by Toni Best.

Toni Best, a Visalian, was one of the three featured gourd artists at the Exeter Art show that runs from April 14th to May 26th.

Diana Pearcy a Woodlake Artist

It’s so much fun to go to an art or an arts and crafts show and discover that people you knew in other settings are actually artists in disguise. That’s what happened this month at the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum.

gourd bowl woven with pine needles on the top.
Diana Pearcy from the Woodlake Foundation Gourd Artist next to her favorite piece.

What Do You Do with an Old Gourd?

You can poke and prod them, paint on them, oil them, coil rows of pine needles around the edges, and use your imagination to create almost anything.

Animal Totem made from gourds
Animal Totem by Diana Pearcy shows personality

Diana Pearcy grows her own gourds, her garden yielding over 3,000 gourds per season. She says they have different personalities, and we saw some of them on April 14th.

Gourd with maple leaf carved out
Maple Leaf

It’s hard to believe the same artist created these two very different pieces from gourds. This one might have been my personal favorite, although several others were close.

Female  gourd statue
Gourdeous! Spirit Shawl

Sam McKinney from Lindsay

Sam McKinney with her favorite piece
Sam McKinney with her favorite piece

Sam surprised me when we shook hands and she was not a man but a woman with amazing talent. Her time-consuming projects were vases rather than statues like Diana’s. This vase took front and center at the show. Sam’s work is almost like exotic clothing. I love the neckline and jewelry on this vase.

Free flow’s woven accessories and perfect eyelashes caught my eye.

Since I can’t even hold a pencil still for even a second, the thought of making all those little triangular marks in a perfect pattern made me swoon with envy.

This multi-sided vase is drilled and stippled, painted and carved. It would be beautiful with a digital flame inside. Sam, like Diana, also grows her own gourds.

gourd vase with beads
Cupid’s Arrow Beaded Gourd vase

At an art show at the Woodlake Airport on April 20th, my friend Jaime Beck drooled over the picture of Sam McKinney’s beadwork on this gourd. The perfect v or w pattern must have taken an enormous amount of patience to create.

When you come to the South Valley on your way to the Sequoia National Park, spend a few minutes of your weekend touring the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum. It’s open Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4. They change art regularly so there is always something new to see. To enjoy more from this show check out their Facebook Group.

  • Animal Totem made from gourds
  • gourd vase with beads
  • carved gourd vase
  • gourd bowl woven with pine needles on the top.
  • Sam McKinney with her favorite piece
  • Female gourd statue
  • Gourd with maple leaf carved out

If you loved these, please press like, share the post, leave a comment or do all three. I love hearing from you. 🙂 Marsha 🙂