When I look at a garden — any garden — I find myself looking at it from two perspectives.
The first, of course, is a celebration of the plants and colors and textures and combinations — much like in my previous post on Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, Florida.
The second perspective has me looking at the nuts and bolts — or in the case of Morikami, the bamboo and twine — of gardening. Through careful pruning and the bending and training of branches, gardening at Morikami is as much a tribute to nature as it is to the dedicated hands of the gardeners.
As I strolled along the paths and bonsai pavilion of this sub-tropical Japanese garden, looking at how something was growing rather than what was growing, I had to think of the gardeners’ hands that have worked in this garden since its opening in 1977.
Bamboo, as you might imagine, plays a large role at Morikami — not only as a plant whose stalks click and clack against one another in the wind, but also as tools to help the gardeners create their visions.
How lovely to be an old bamboo stalk at Morikami, to still be useful and valued. It reminds me of the Ray Bradbury quote at the start of Part I, an philosophy that we should all leave something behind when we die, such as a painting or a garden.
It seems only fitting, then, that I should close my Morikami field trip with another quote, this one from Sarah Kay, the poet.
“Some people read palms to tell your future, but I read hands to tell your past. Each scar makes a story worth telling. Each callused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory.”
They are also indicative of time in a garden — of planting and weeding, pruning and staking, growing and creating. The gardeners of Morikami — and gardeners everywhere, for that matter — have those stories in their hands.