Thursday, March 25, 2010

Edward de Bono's Creative Farewell dinner at Cecilia's House

Edward de Bono is pretty responsible for the way my life is turning out.
Discovering 'Lateral Thinking', 'Six Hats' and his other books as a teenager gave me the notion that with a bit of purposeful sideways thinking, life can veer down miraculous and surprising paths.
Such as being a professional Balcony Garden designer.
Such as living in a house that is a revolving door of people whos faces I love seeing every morning.
Such as being prepared to be homeless at an advanced age, and start planing new gardens in a new country, waiting for the next lovely thing to come by.

Having Edward himself over for dinner in my tiny Melbourne house being one example of the unexpected.

Australian Autumnal Easter Eggs - pommegranite, persimmon, figs
double up as edible ikebana, by WWOOFer Stephanie

Wonder WWOOFer-artists Stephanie and Marc from Quebec,
who applied innate creativity event production. How did she get the huge foliage arrangement assembled though the tiny door of my birdcage?

Lahta the graphic designer and animator, who I hope will babysit my pet potplants while I make my new home.
Edward challenged us all to a spot of after-dinner speed poetry , Lahta wordmistress wowed us all by turning the 'dog' theme into a dense 'black dog' fiesta of existential wit and wisdom.

Kallika Bruce, who runs Elwood Natural Therapy, also Sophie
and my sisters Katie the Yoga teacher and April

Kallika called me the other week from Bunnings, the balcony gardeners best friend, with some emergency Mulch queries, and her potted terrace garden is now flourishing. It had better: Kallika is helping create a natural healing Permaculture hospital in Bangladesh, the world needs her humble gardening skills as much as it needs her naturally lateral thinking.

My sister April the psychologist analyzes the wine.

Everyone's gone home, and I'm kinda glowing.
Happy to have a home for three more weeks, good people to fill it, and curious as to what's around the bend for me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Life Garage sale

I must leave my darling home.

So, "New Life Garage Sale for Gardening Vintage-loving artists" is happening, because no matter how beautiful, you can't take it all with you.


Easter Saturday 3rd April 2010, 8am to 12.30 pm.


Canning St, North Melbourne
Tram stop 17, tram 57. Look for the balloons.

For mates I already know, there is a BBQ afterwards RSVP by Wednesday, and bring a dish and a talent to share. Babysitting for boxes of unsold goods will be rewarded, so make some space in your car or garage.

I've put some sample photos and prices here:

So what might you come home with?

Furniture: mostly vintage: 20's dresser, 30's titanic style draws, pretty white girls bed, side tables. Ikea storage in perfect condition, more.

Permaculture Garden goods: Large Potted fruit trees, sweet smelling straw for mulch, for rabbits, lots of hoses, tubes and pumps to get water to your garden. Decorator white pebbles, terracotta pots, odd-shaped cut bricks for a mosiac brick garden path, crushed rock to go under the bricks, timber and boards, Glass for greenhouses, and a splendid potted persimmon tree.

Clothes: vintage including edwardian silk blouse, 1870s long-sleeved whalebone bodice, lots of hats, gloves, coats, gowns, Sixties retro and Gone With the Wind style costumes, and groovy stuff from Tokyo: Hotpants, glimmery coats. Mostly size 8 - 10, shoes size 7 (24cm)

Craft and sewing goods: Fabric, linings, patchwork materials, wheatbags ready to be cut and made, acrylic paint, tracing paper and huge grid paper rolls, stretched canvas, saris, japanese obis, Japanese flower arranging spiked holders (kenzan)

Household goods: lamps, air humidifier, kitchen goods, sheets, pots, candles, christmas decorations, art posters, Japanese culinary tools, Set of 30 party glasses.

Magazines: Earth Garden, Organic Gardener, Mindfood, Green Magazine, Japanese fashion magazines,

Books: Candlemaking, decorating, color, interiours, art Nouveau, Japanese language textbooks, novels, freebies.

Wierd stuff: soil Ph measurer, Air Humidifier, butter churn, priestly vestments, 1820s Documents, 200 year old books.

Have Fun!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Freddy Mercury's Garage sale and Hanging Begonias in Balarat

Cecilia and Freddie Mercury

I Accidentally went to Ballarat.
I was there nearly two hours before I realized the elegant, gourmet gold mining city I had in mind was Bendigo. The town I found myself in was flat, architectually wonderful, but definitely not Bendigo.

But I got Lucky. I got to hang out with Freddy Mercury, who, it seems, is also clearing out his garage. The exhibition had old album covers, tour baggage slathered with stickers. The drawcard was the till-now unseen photos taken by his roadie, of Freddie and the rest of Queen scrambling though life with polystyrene cups and disorder their constant companion.
I saw for the first time that Queen were never able to guarantee that what they did would succeed. But mostly it did, and Freddy and the gang just kept going, kept writing, creating, pouring it all out for us.

Man (not Freddy) posing with Mercury (winged helmet statue)
for a photograph by his mum

After being Rocked by Queen, I toddled off to the Begonia Show, the other thing to do in Ballarat.

Ballarat begonia festival promotion from 1950s archive

I've not researched begonias, but looking at the super-juicy soft stems and fragile flowers, I had the feeling they would be dinner-on-a-plate for every garden pest that exists.
Choosing such a plant for an organic garden would be setting myself up for heartbreak, kind of like being one of Freddie's infinite garden of lovers.
Not just that, it but would be jarring visually. Despite themselves, people have an old instinct for what doesn't belong, you can't fudge harmony. No matter how beautiful, visual associations are even more difficult to erase, and there is something very 1950s about these plants, evocative of nursing homes.

But I've discovered begonias have an impressive vastness of range, from chihuahua to great dane. Some live their lives as hardy, drought-tolerant roadside plantings, then others stay indoors with Queen Elizabeth-type owners, coddled and protected, then astonishing us with massive plastic-like blossoms.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creative mess management for generative people

Next time you find yourself in the company of a mess you just can't face, be it a withered balcony garden or pile of taxation documents, I have just the strategy for you:


Mid-March MessScape by Cecilia, Ballarat 2010

This one was created while waiting for my Rasberry breakfast cake this morning, at a lakeside Cafe in Ballarat. Well, waiting beside a pile of the last customers dishes would have been the drongo's option, but when you decide there must be other options, they always appear.

And once I'd finished with mine, I got the kids at the next table to have a go, to keep me distracted.

It turns out they were indeed talented MessScapers, much more figurative in style than me.

Green tounged red mascara MessScape monster

Jam Man with collar

Glasses with Glasses

Trouble and Freindship, master MessScapers

MessScapes and balcony gardens, whats the connection? They are both about making something out of nothing, seeing patterns, making connections, and joyfully wasting time.

Also, the most dramatic way to improve the look of your balcony garden is simple subtraction - saying 'this plant, this pot doesn't belong. I don't love it. Just because it ended up here doesn't mean I'm obliged to use it', and sending it on. All the remaining pots and plants can then relax into a harmonious arrangement, and you can say 'Im a balcony garden artist'.

Practice on mess first, its easier.

'Freindship' and 'Trouble' the MessScape artists, with Bruce (?) and Peanut.
Bruce and Peanut are the Dogs.

Best of all, a messScape is so much less scary to clean up than a mess. Divide and Conquer.

If you ever make a MessScape, I'd love a photo to add to my collection.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Melbourne hail stone desert with gleaned garden refuse, brown sugar and cream

Hail stone desert with gleaned garden refuse, brown sugar and cream

You must wait patently for suitable conditions before you make this dish.
When the hailstorm finally arrives, you must gather the necessary ingredients swiftly, for optimum crunch and deliciousness.

If the hailstones have been sitting in icy meltwater, they loose their fluffiness, becoming hard and glassy
Gather, brush off any mulch they landed in, and mix with brown sugar and cream.

For garnish, go back to the garden and glean felled bits of mint, battered rasberries.

Stay positive.

Things will grow back. Cultivate them in pots for mobility, don't let storms hypnotize you, and be quicker to pull them in next time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My guardian angel's trumpet trying to help and comfort me

Parasol-like, chandelier-like, its my pink angels trumpet in bloom
Photo: Cecilia
Today I started dragging my worldly goods from the garage, to photograph for sale. I must leave my lovely house, so before the terrible day comes, I will shed whatever is probably not essential to my new mystery life.

My plants are worried about me, I think. Look what this angel trumpet did - she lent me her beauty to help sell my things, and bloomed on this very day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I must leave my darling home and garden.

My living room 2007,
with fishpond, roses and custom clothes dryer over the heating

What a surprise - my landlord is selling my beloved North Melbourne house. After six years, it was starting to look unmistakably like me.

Courtyard Christmas 2009
with river of curvy bricks

Well, by April 15th, my cat, my plants, my furniture collection and myself will all be somewhere else, and I can't for the life of me imagine where.

Somewhere bigger - a old mansion to paint up, with a flock of beautiful Japanese women helping out?

Somewhere further - an old Japanese farmhouse, with my things in storage, and my plants and cat and car with babysitters?

Woodfire stove with kid goat.
Illustration by Cecilia

Something funnier : roaming Australia in a restored frilly 1950's caravan?

Even though I'm a kind of Fairy of Flexibility, I need your good advice and clever ideas, because this is not my average-sized challenge.

Detail of the fairies I painted in acrylic,
splashed with rainbow light from the balcony-hung crystal

Without you, it is quite possible I could end up somewhere....dastardly. Keep in touch. Send advice and ideas. Keep me encouraged.