This is the hosta plant that faithfully, magnificently, takes over a good portion of my garden year after year even though I do nothing to help or encourage it. In late summer, if left on its own as it always is, the hosta will sprout tall shoots topped with pale lavender-colored flowers. This is the hosta as photographed in early June before something nibbled its leaves down to bare little stumps. I’m not at all sure what this means for its future. So I decided to memorialize the poor plant, in a fabricated landscape, making it into a golden hill. In Photoshop, I added a picture of the sun reflected in my pond, along with a negative image of tangled straw-like weeds to make an agitated sky.
I was thinking of my father when I fabricated this landscape. All day yesterday, as I weed-whacked up and down my long driveway and then raked and pulled pondweed, I remembered how pleased my father was to do work around his house. He taught me that it’s a privilege to have a nice home and to keep it in good shape. He had come to the States in the early 1940s with nothing but ambition; he worked hard to build up his dreams. When I do yard work around my home I feel like he’s watching me.
In Photoshop, I turned the reflection of a bare tree upside down and “planted” it in a foreground of pebbles. The image was not good enough to honor or represent my father so I framed it in multiple built-up frames, like the biggest hug I could give.
June is my favorite month, mainly because the daylight lasts so long. Also, everything outside seems to be bursting with vibrant color: the greens of the ferns, the peony pinks, the spectacular spirea bushes.
This particular Goldflame Spirea shrub had grown over the garden bed onto the flagstone walk. It was so flamboyant that I photographed it. Later, I flipped the photo in Photoshop, and added an image of my sump pump cover to serve as the sun in a fabricated landscape.
My overgrown pondweed situation was almost under control the morning I noticed pollen forming over most of the pond’s surface. It was like a giant floating oil slick. To make things worse, feathery tufts falling from nearby trees were being carried by the wind and landing on the ugly oily film. Unlike the algae and pondweed I’d been pulling out the past weeks, this would be almost impossible to get rid of. But I don’t mind hard work. Sometimes, immersing myself into hard physical labor, I can forget to be miserable and depressed. And it feels pretty good afterward to have been productive, to see the fruits of my labor.
The few clear spots on the pond, where the surface tension had broken, reminded me of meandering rivers. I photographed the mess. Then, dropping one of the images into Photoshop, I added a “sun” crafted from a shot of the sump pump cover on my lawn.
Most days now you can find me in my tiny boat on the pond, pulling out pondweed and piling it on the banks. It’s an endless chore but a calming one. And I’m grateful for it, knowing that one day I will not have the pond or the boat or the energy to do this.
If you turn this photo upside down you will see my pond so thick with weeds that the reflections of the nearby trees are nearly obliterated.
For my fabricated landscape this week I challenged myself to turn the trunk of a shagbark hickory tree into an ocean. The sky I added above was taken from a photo of my pond during a rainstorm. In order to get the hazy light-scattering effect at the horizon line, I turned the photo of the rain-dappled pond upside down and whitened the edge where the sea meets the sky. This lightening allows for a peaceful calming effect. The texture, however, makes for an edgy kind of calm, one that could easily erupt into stormy chaos.