No Resolution


As much the week between Christmas and New Year’s seems mostly about the pause button, it has gone by quickly.  The shop has been very busy.  I also try to use this time to plan and construct for the holiday to come.  My holiday shopping for 2011 comes up mid month.  Am I weary of the holidays?  Au contraire, I am just getting warmed up.  Having spent the better part of 2 months working with holiday materials, I have only just now hitting my stride.  Working steadily endows the hand with a certain confidence some call rhythm.

Some materials we still have are being put to use in sculptures we are making now-for 2011.  The raw materials that made for a beautiful 2010 holiday season can now be turned over or inside out.  They can be cut up, moved over, or rotated in space-reconfigured.  I like nothing better than a project with a list of must haves, a list of cannot do’s, and the feeling that I am about to be cornered.  That kind of challenge sounds good to me. This is much about what I really enjoy about landscape design.  Rob redid the front door to the shop.  Two left over evergreen wreaths sit perfectly on the rim of a pair of iron pots.  What is left of our yellow twig fills those pots.  A few bales of douglas fir boughs carpet the ground.

Some of that yellow twig got woven into wreaths.  Willow twigs are incredibly flexible.  There is no form inside, just layer after layer of branches wound round each other and tucked in.  The greens carpeting ground-why not?  I’ve seen them swagged over doorways and banisters, in pots and wreaths-but I like this carpet idea.  They were left over materials in search of a reason to be.  Lots of ideas come to mind if you deal with a material long enough.  Flooring from greens-new to me.

Years and years ago I made wreaths from the rosa multiflora rose canes that grew wild on my property. The new canes made gorgeous wreaths-but steering clear of those thorns was not so easy.  I do not own that property now; that material is no longer available. An old idea in a new material; the dogwood is easy to work with with.   Every holiday season is a new season.  No need to trot out the old moves.  Natural materials are just waiting for a new idea to emerge.  I hate to throw away any material for lack of an interesting idea-I have been looking at the twig remains.   

No matter how many times the yearly twig truck arrives, I always feel a sense of anticipation.  I have another chance to interpret them.  The same applies to my garden.  Though it is a relatively small space, there will always be room for a big idea.  My plans for the new year?  More roses.  Less grass.  The corgi grass-inviolate.  I know when to leave well enough alone.   But I have other grass that could instead be a home for really cool plants.  Planning-the winter is perfect for this.  Not one creature, not one plant stirs when the ground is frozen solid.  I have time to think, look at the existing materials, and plan.

These ideas are not really resolutions for the New Year. Expecting a garden to provide rersolution seems like a contradiction in terms.  Resolving to tackle this project or that spot that isn’t working, adding something that will improve the overall look-a good idea.  Resolving is a verb, suggesting some thought, and definitely implying some action.  It is a paradox-how all of the resolving of a gardening lifetime won’t result in a resolution.  A garden is a living thing-always moving in one direction or another.    

Some leftovers need to be taken out to the trash. Some obsolete ideas need to be trashed.  But I cannot help but think there might be a future in store for these materials. I so like making something of what is left to the last.

Already these round forms are suggesting other forms.  Maybe a twig mix could be interesting.  The yellow and copper colors look very companionable here-where can I go with this idea?

A year, a gardening season, every season comes to an end, like it or not.  I do much better facing the winter with resolve.  If all goes well, I’ll be cleaning out, and cooking up.

 In simple terms, I would so resolve to try new things.  New plants.  Unfamiliar arrangements.  The toughest part of design is to look at any given arrangement, and realize that it can be different.  It just takes a willingness to entertain new ideas-no matter from whence they come.  This almost makes the idea of winter sound good.

Happy New Year-that’s what we plan to call it.


  1. Deborah, Beautiful and inspiring images, words and ideas. Happy New Year!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Thanks Helen, and Happy New Year to you too. I’ll be coming around regularly to check into what you are up to. Deborah

Leave a Comment