Grandma’s younger sister, the second to youngest, Aunt Helen, was a world traveller, retired public school teacher, a collector of bric-a-brac which she arranged on the walls, in collages, nooks and crannies, in corners, on tables. When you first walked in to her parlour, her sitting room, the dining room, whether it was down at the family farm, or her place in town, her rooms told the story of her life in a montage of paintings and prints, or such things as a collection of ebony carved Elephants from Africa, a needlepoint cushion on a chair her students had given her.
It would hit you as an ordered cacophony, details revealing themselves, and so you found yourself stopping to look, always seeing something new you hadn’t seen the last time you came to visit – entering her rooms was always a meander, a peek into her life, a glimpse of all her journeys and adventures.
For each piece, each and every single one, well it had a story behind it, and so her walls and nooks told tales, held memories, and she loved to share them.
And so inspired by her, here are some bits and bobs I’ve added to my little woodland wabi-sabi garden.
Now, given, most of my whimsy and treasures don’t fit within the stricter Japanese style, per se, but that was not my intention, you know, to follow rules of style, but rather to use them as an inspiration.
Take the Tonka toys out front, as an example.
These sat out front of D3’s for the whole time he was here in town, and many a neighbourhood child would stop and point, but no one stole them – which in and of itself is quite amazing. Maybe, like all of us, the thieves even have the child inside, the one that appreciates the whimsy of toys left on the lawn after a long summer play session, like an homage to childhood.
So I and his friends chose a couple for ourselves, as they invoke that whimsy of treasured toys from a bygone time.
Many of these pieces actually came from D3, from his girlfriend that died, and to another garden they now reside. The Greek vase and dragonfly are an example of this, as is the toadstool sitting amongst the ferns.
Now, as I mentioned, I collect rocks, and basically just stones I found hiding, or bits of cement left over from when the landlord redid the sidewalk outside my door, starting to patina with lichen.
But one particular rock is different and kind of special, as it comes from the woods of Grey County that I brought with me. It is rather brittle, and I have no idea what kind of rock it is, but it broke apart a couple years ago, and so I have it now in a couple spots.
This year after my neigbhour died, and his kids had packed up all his things I found this sword underneath the hedge, and so it went into the earth and was added to my garden, and reminds me of my gaelic tongued friend.
So last but not least, are these wicker chairs that D3 gave me a few years back. I loved those chairs, and promptly went out and bought a can of spray paint to freshen them up, and they were a wonderful addition, for about a week.
See, unfortunately for me it was fall and the Black Walnut tree was full of nuts, and the squirrels take the nuts and drop them on the cement walk below to crack them, then scamper down the tree and eat them up. Clever buggers.
You probably can figure out the rest – yes, the little wankers dropped one of the nuts right down onto one of the chairs and smashed the seat of the chair.
At first, I didn’t have any idea what to do with them, until I had one of those AHA moments, and I arranged them in such a way to be able to put a container on them, and so there you go…trash to treasure at its finest.
So this ends the tour of my garden, for now. I may do another instalment later in the summer, to check in on the changes, additions and new tales added to my #wabi-sabi garden of whimsy.