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Garden harvest 2009  

One of the most powerful gardening images I still carry with me is that of my grandmother in early spring bending down to pick up a handful of soil. She squeezed it, smelled it, and rubbed through her fingers returning it back to the garden. I was a youngster then and her actions puzzled me. What was she doing? What was she thinking about?

Was the soil moist enough? Was it warm enough? Was it well composted and alive and ready for planting? It was as if she was working some magic on this bare patch of ground, and I knew, in a few short months it would be overflowing with flowers and good things to eat like fresh peas, carrots, cucumbers and ripe tomatoes.

It was these early experiences that developed in me a love of gardening and an awareness of how I look at the world and how I express myself. As an artist I was lucky to find my subject matter in the backyard. There is something satisfying about planting a garden. It’s an act of creation that is full of possibilities and contingencies. You have to attend to the needs of nature or your garden won’t grow. Making a garden is a lot like making art.

I still plant a backyard garden. But the garden that consumes me, the garden I plant today is the Garden of the Mind. That garden exists somewhere between nature and the imagination. It’ a place that goes beyond soil, plants and insects. It’s a rough and wild garden where ideas grow and hybridize. It’s this tangled garden that provides me with the rich source of ideas that I interpret and organize into my own universe of personal expression.


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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Last updated October 2010