Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm back in NYC, have been for nearly a week. It's good, but there is always an adjustment when you've been away for three weeks.

I read recently that gardening, itself, was nostalgic. I was surprised by this. Really? Not just modes of gardening or styles of design? Gardening itself. Maybe I am more startled by my own surprise than by the notion that it is nostalgic.

We live in cities -dense concrete and steel environments sprinkled with trees and shrubs. More often than not the plants in our daily lives have been an afterthought, plunked in a sidewalk cut by giant wet saws. Parks are our refuge, environments that, through aging design, appear nostalgic, but are kept vibrant by constant and changing use.

Is gardening nostalgic? I've often joked about our current phase of back to the land. I call it back to the potting soil. This cyclic manifestation of perceived imbalance and corruption, is it nostalgic? I don't have the brain power to think to deeply about this right now, but I'll ruminate on it for awhile.

I received a pile of books for the holidays. Halfway through Karel Capek's The Gardener's Year, but then there are the heavier titles: The Machine in the Garden (Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America) by Leo Marx, Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape by Dennis E. Cosgrove, and Landscape and Power edited by W.J.T. Mitchell.

Meanwhile, it's back to school, back to the studio, back to bi-weekly tuesday trash in Prospect Park, back to website work for the garlic farm, and back to blogging on a computer, instead of the less than ideal mobile device.

Snow storm this weekend?


  1. I'm trying to find the precise ref. in a book I just read, but the author describes how nostalgia was the name given to a disease observed and diagnosed in the 18th and 19th centuries (Napoleonic Wars) - peculiar to soldiers a w a y f r o m h o m e. It is an acute longing for home. It is cured by returning.

    Before I read your post I was just going to say that the title was good word. I have discovered two funny things: When I turn on my laptop, I am home; and home really can be a person. It can also be vegetation.

  2. Interesting thoughts Marie. I'm sure there are those who would say that home, itself, is nostalgic. It's a kind of hardness to dismiss nostalgia, I suppose. It has taken on a negative quality. But like your story above suggests, maybe it's more of an illness that suggests a remedy. Go home -wherever, whatever that is.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...