Thursday, October 30, 2008


Someone out to get the passionate gardening vote knew that plant graffiti would be hard for any chlorophyll lover to miss. This scrawled message was spotted at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill in one of their Habitat Collections -- three small but deliciously designed gardens representing the diverse geographic regions of NC.

I've spotted lots of defaced beech trees and even some etched bamboo canes in my travels but this is the first cactus I've seen bearing a bumper sticker. Not that it matters, but I'll be voting for Opuntia this year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Amazing Space

A few outtakes from a recent assignment for the New York Times Home section. This one took me to a reclaimed lot in Baltimore where good folks from the Amazing Grace Lutheran Church built more than just a community garden -- they created a sacred space.
Nearly an entire block in size, The Amazing Port Street Sacred Commons includes a labyrinth, a vegetable garden and a lush grassy area surrounded by colorful murals and metal sculpture. It's hard to see any remnants of the trash and drug dealing that once filled these lots.

After the shoot, everyone left but I stayed a while longer hoping for a cloud or two to soften the harsh midday sun. The pretty light never really came but I did get to meet a few neighbors walking through the Commons. Despite the occasional sirens (and even gunshots) in the background, the conversations I had were sweet and uplifting. Open space=Open hearts.

This is one of about 120 public projects partly funded by the forward thinking TKF Foundation who believe that sacred spaces increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anne's Tomatoes

Two pictures from a shoot with Anne Raver for the New York Times Home section. The bottom one ran last Thursday along with a handful of others detailing the chores and pleasures of fall gardening. Anne's family farm nestles comfortably into a rolling hillside of rural Maryland and we had fun putting these little stories together. So many wonderfully authentic details and Anne's delicious prose made for a sweetly compelling feature.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Goodbye to Donny

Sadly, after a month of illness, our beautiful little tough guy had to be put down yesterday. A wrenching decision, but he was no longer eating or drinking and could barely walk. The vets office handled him (and us) beautifully in a small private area that felt more like a guest bedroom with a small rug, sofa and soft lighting. He went gently but not without lots of tears and promises from us.

Without a doubt, he had more personality than any other animal we’ve shared our home with. Probably bred as a fighting dog, with both Pit Bull and Doberman genes, his ears and tail were clipped and docked but his soul was filled only with love and playfulness. Sue negotiated his rescue 14 years ago from a series of bad homes in our old neighborhood and he quickly became a dominant figure in our lives.

Always ready to take a walk, eat anything that could be remotely described as food and chase a ball for endless hours at a time, his enthusiasm lifted our spirits over and over. And when he wasn’t charging about, he enjoyed close contact and soaked up affection like sponge. May he rest in peace.