And coming next week Vella.02. A NEW Vella story = North or northwest?
What is it?
Majoring in Landscape Architecture, CJ is in Tangier on a term abroad design study. The visit occurs at the turn of the 21st century, barely before the 9/11 disaster.
The landscape had always been CJ’s muse. But in Morocco, he did battle with it. He was confused by it. He tried to understand it. Its Oriental roots ran deep across the entirety of north Africa.
But he discovered that the Moroccan landscape had equally strong roots deep into the dark heartland of west Africa. In Morocco. In the coming Vella, CJ recounts some of his northwest Africa explorations.
***PLEASE NOTE***FLAHERTYLANDSCAPE HAS MOVED ITS URL TO A NEW DOMAIN–https://flahertylandscape.com CONTENT THE SAME ONLY A NEW URL. PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK.
Who is CJ?
He is the protagonist in the series, The Landscape Architect.
The Landscape Architect is the title of a series of fictional autobiographies. These are CJ’s autobiographies. In this series, CJ reveals the twists and turns in the development of his career as a professional landscape architect via his interactions with cultures, landscapes, gardens and plants of the world—where the unexpected and downright strange become daily facts of life.
Tangier Gardens is the debut novel in that series.
When you dig into Tangier Gardens, you will find a contemporary coming of age action novel about CJ (Christopher Janus), who like us is facing a broad range of distressing challenges.
CJ needs a break. He has been busting his hump full time six years at university with one more class till graduation.
He wanted just a few moments of repose before getting on with his career.
Didn’t happen. We all sadly know that story. But how did CJ deal with it? Tangier Gardens is that story.
CJ, studying landscape architecture, is into pedestrian towns and warm sandy beaches. For his last class, a term abroad design study, he’s on his way to Tangier, a town with sandy beaches on the Med and a historical pedestrian district, the medina.
However, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and landing in Tangier immediately upsets his planned easy observe-and-check-the-box design study. He is thrown off balance and he has to start all over from scratch–no more easy study.
With Andalusian legacies, languorous gardens, Moroccan markets and ancient medinas, Tangier Gardens brings Mediterranean life to the armchair traveler.
If you are:
-A nature lover, into urban gardening or a landscape architecture aficionado;
-Curious about all things green–the environment, plants, gardens, landscape;
-Intrigued about the North African multi-cultural, mystical history of people and plants, then
–Tangier Gardens IS A MUST.
If CJ and his Tangier Gardens intrigue, then please send me your email address for information about free pre-launch copies and 2022 launch schedule.
Christopher Janus, CJ, had visited Morocco once with his mom when he was only seven–he had memories. He remembered sun and fun. Now nearly two decades later he, studying landscape architecture at university, was planning a design study term abroad. This, however was to become a different journey. The Moroccan tourism advertising was for sun and fun. That’s what he hoped for.
He had been six years full time at university. He needed a break. Sun and fun on the Mediterranean in Morocco? Great Moroccan markets in the pedestrian-only medinas? What was not to like?
When CJ crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived in Tangier, the cultural complexity…the mists of cultural history…the cultural reality fog overwhelmed him. His carefully planned design study disappeared into a thickly uncertain maze. In this journey, he was blinded. He couldn’t find any portals.
His attempts to work through that maze is the basis for my upcoming novel, Tangier Gardens.
Nigh onto 10 years ago I had just finished 25 years building gardens and landscapes in the Arabian Sands. The Sands were my life.
But be sure about this…the Sands are more than sand.
To reflect the huge unknowns of the Sands, my blog banner became part of the enigma of the Sands. Exotic for a Midwestern American, you bet. But exotic is a 25cent tourism marketing adjective. The Sands are not.
Ten years have passed. I live in another exotic landscape, this time a mountain landscape. Ten years of explorations in this new landscape have enthralled me, so I am updating the blog banner.
Exotic? Borders on magic realism, neo-romanticism and eco-gothic. They are all alive and well in exotic landscapes. as are rarely predictable and always inspiring plants and gardens. Just take a walk, open your eyes and ears. Listen, feel, see, discover.
Old banner–the sands–always an enigma–sun but no soil or water.
Spring is breaking out everywhere and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve had 75 of these northern hemisphere springs and I still bubble with joy as I watch the reveal. That, in and of itself, is reason enough for me to be happy.
Every day when I take a walk, something new awakens me, even calls me. Below I share my good fortune.
It’s just a photo, but the sun was warm and these flowers were smiling.
Hepatica nobilis coming alive out of the forest floor–amazing what a little sunshine lets us discover. Hepatica nobilis? Liverwort is the common name because its leaves, when they finally emerge, are shaped like the human liver. Long ago, especially at the time when the Doctrine of Signs prevailed, hepatica was used medicinally. According to the doctrine the appearance of the plant could be used to discern which organ, body part or fluid the plant was able to treat–hepatica’s leaves are three-parted, just like a liver, and the underside of the leaves is the same colour as raw liver. It was therefore used to treat liver and kidney problems and to arrest bleeding–nowadays however it is identified as a poison. On the day, I was happy to see spring revealing itself after a cold lifeless winter.
Snowdrops–spring enthralls me. Coming out of nothing. Nothing? Next to the snowdrops can you see last fall’s rotting apples nutrientizing the soil. And me, I saw these snowdrops as a clump of trees. Crazy? Or just drunk with pleasure?
Kaffir lilies–Winter telling me to get ready for spring. Also these kaffir lilies remind me that I, a Christian westerner, survived residing for two decades in Muslim countries. So what?
Hazelnut catkins–there is nothing I like better than hazelnuts enrobed in milk chocolate. And these catkins will make it happen.
Even the larger landscape with its grassy meadows, shrubs and trees is beginning to show its spring bump. That is exciting and beautiful.