Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stealing Beauty

Last Sunday morning we awoke with the birds, thanks to Bernardo, our gardener, who was tapping gently on our front door to remind us that it was tree-trimming day for our Pittosporum. Despite knowing it had to be done (the grass beneath it was performing the death scene from "Camille"), I had been postponing this moment for weeks as my aesthetic runs more to "overgrown Arcadia" than to the plucked, denuded look that always reminds me of a Brazilian wax job. 

Our beautiful Japanese magnolia, newly in flower, also needed a slight haircut to prevent it from forming too close an attachment to the wires. 


I didn't want one branch more than necessary to be lopped off so I stood vigil outside, sipping my latte and praying that the carnage would end quickly.


As Bernardo gathered the big bunches of foliage in his arms and began to haul them away, I suddenly realized that I had before me an amazing floral design opportunity.  Yes, my backyard Arcadia was a little less robust, but because of that, green anarchy could exist inside the Kenmore Arms today.

Using gesticulations and pidgeon Spanish to inform Bernardo of my plan, I relieved him of his bundle, donned my green wellies and went quickly to work.  I chose the lushest and shapeliest branches, trimmed them with my clippers and set about arranging them into vases. 

There are probably some people who will deem these 'poor man's bouquets', but I am drawn to their unadorned simplicity, their zen modesty and their guilelessness.  

In a way, they're a perfect example of wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. Wabi-sabi embraces the profundity of nature and its inevitable cycle of growth, decay and death.

Bernardo took especial care to hand the magnolia stems to me after snipping them in order to keep the blossoms in one piece.  I think they look quite pretty in the foyer -- they are a poetic echo of the wallpaper.

The table by the window accommodates arrangements nicely and these were no exception. It felt right to honor these branches which had provided our family with shade and flower for the past year.

Afterwards, I returned my wellies to the watchful gaze of our trusty house mole and went inside to enjoy my indoor arboretum.

7 comments:

Lee said...

What a bountiful harvest of leaves and flowers to adorn your beautiful home!

Mr. Peacock said...

Your garden is so lovely...
and the black and white striped awning
on your terrace is perfect too!

little augury said...

I love the spontaneity of your branches- it always surprises me to think of all that must be blooming cross country. still very very cold here-though dafs have started popping up and buds sprouting- that can only mean another snow!glad you are at peace with your computer again.

The Squirrel Girl said...

You are too cute! I adore your blog and your black and white striped awning!

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa - not sure if my first post went thru...so if it did just ignor this one.

One of the main reasons I plant flowering shrubs/trees is because they look fabulous inside and out.

no doubt

C.T. said...

Loved your blog (again) and I think you have a wonderful life. And I really must thank you for the Wabi-Sabi link, thank you, thank you thank you!!!

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