Chocolate Gardens

This is about Moroccan gardens and landscape.

Earlier today, I prepared to record the revised draft of one of my novels to perform a sentence by sentence prose edit. To my surprise, as I set up a folder for the audio, I found an old .aif file entitled Chocolate Gardens. On that 30 minute file I heard myself reading what appeared to be a post publication recall of events.

Well, since my stroke I am finding quite a few things I had completely forgotten. That’s kinda fun. Maybe sad, but still fun. We all have imperfect memories, but as a stroke victim, I seem to have now a greater worrisome sense about forgetfulness. Oh well, time continues. No harm done.

The Chocolate Gardens tells the story of a Tangier, Morocco garden, as recorded by Christopher two decades ago. In order to visit the garden he was required by the garden’s owners, a Brit and a Ruskie, to undergo a special ordeal of chocolate and absinthe before walking at sunset in the garden. Christopher first had to visit the land of the green fairies before he could enter their Oval Garden. This is that story.

Readers…by now you know that my blog, flahertylandscape, is all about plants and people–landscape journeys. Sounds fair and safe enough; but what I am about to share with you goes beyond strange.

Anyone who has worked in a garden–suffered blisters and callouses in a garden for fruit, vegetables, flowers, medicine–knows there is something more in those gardens. This is for you.

Gardens? Chocolate? Yes, definitely…but I never thought to combine them until the email I received quite recently from an almost forgotten friend. Donkeys’ years ago when I was in Tangier, we worked together on the Baie de Tanger–it was a tourist destination development project.

Now, my friend’s still in Tangier, but as an antique dealer, using as an income cover, a store of second hand furniture.

I have attached a link to a 30 min. SoundCloud file that tells the rest of the story. I hope you like it.

Image 18.04.18 at 17.47

…for millennia…Tangier has been a nexus of Mediterranean, African and European cultures…a classic melting pot that is still on the boil.

This is in part a freshly edited re-post of  a 2015 post I made, entitled Chocolate, Gardens and Magic, which if I might say so, was well illustrated with Art Nouveau graphics.

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Action Redux

 

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Phoenix dactylifera finds its way north to the cold of winter.

I am living in the Northern Hemisphere in a region where serious winter occurs as freezing water and ground along with regular snows, so how is it that I am eating dates which do not grow naturally anywhere near here?

That is almost a third grade geography question. 🙂

But it needs an answer. Shipping and transportation of foodstuffs in our modern world, we should not take it for granted, should we?

Landscape meet Garden

I’ve been writing landscape adventure stories the past couple years, and in a strange fashion, the narrators of each story have taught me new perceptions of landscape architecture and design.

For example, the narrator of Crystal Vision explained to me that landscape harbors danger for humans and that garden is safe and primarily provides for quiet introspection and also for active and regular energy exchange. The narrator explained further that both landscape and garden are deficient if not dominated by plants sustained by adequate water.

Yeah, it did make sense to me, anyone else agree?

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It all happens at the town’s edge.

The Right Altitude

May Snow

A week ago I posted Wisteria photo taken the same day, so enamoured I was of its floriferous and fragrant presence. I called it a mature spring dream.

Today, just one week later I had the opportunity to observe a unique scientific reality—that is—higher elevations have cooler temperatures. And that dramatically affects the visual coming of spring.

I live in essentially the same easting and northing for the Wisteria photo and these weather photos below. All have been taken within a 5 mile by 5 mile square on a map. I can observe the weather at 500 meters above sea level—the Wisteria–no snow fall at all–only a cold spring rain.

And I can observe the weather at 1,500 meters above sea level which I did today. My easy access to these very different elevations is possible due to the well developed cog-wheel train system in operation year round in all weather conditions.

Today, at 1,500 meters and higher, I saw no crocus, no dandelion, no green. But I did have the joyous fun of a snowfall in mid Spring—large flakes in blizzard-like conditions up to 12” deep and sticking to all coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs.

Good fun.

…high…

800 meters above sea level–at this elevation there was no snowfall but you can see the dynamic cloud activity–up the faces of the cliffs–along the  valley floor–and the entire valley is covered and darkened by the low overcast.

 

…higher…

1,500 meters above sea level–at this elevation I have entered the low overcast layer that caused the reduced light at 800 meters. Inside the overcast layer was snowing.

 

…highest…

2,300 meters above sea level–at this level I have risen above the first overcast snowing and am now in snowfall from a higher overcast. This is where 12″ of snow had already fallen and the snow was still falling. A cog-wheel train at left.

 

About dandelions

***Warning Hate Inside***

When I was a kid, my dad used to send me out in the front yard lawn, early spring, saying, “Get rid of the dandelions—and get out all the roots, too.”

Never, I never won that battle. Always more dandelions and always more vociferous exhortations from my dad.

Dandelion hate. Part of my childhood.

Well, I’ve grown up and now live in a new neighborhood.

And by golly did I have fun yesterday glorifying in the 500 meters above sea level central Switzerland landscape—dancing with the dandelions.

A sea, waves of dandelions in all their floriferous glory. Dancing away my hate.

Dandelions…no matter how seen,

Glowing with energy,

The light of the field.

I’m sure they have forgiven me.

 

The dandelion landscape…er…seascape.

 

Dancing dandelions

 

Dandelion bounce–it’s fun

 

Dandelion threesome

 

Dandelion dominatrix

 

Spring Snow Showers

Northern range of the Swiss Alps.

Last third of April–lots of spring flowers–violets going by–winter clothes put away–boom–spring snow showers.

 

Violas, violet, over oak.

 

Snow showers–normal April the locals say.

 

Snow flakes–dancing and jolly as if they are enjoying the joke.

 

Broderies

The spring wild flowers in homeowners’ lawns speak Easter to my memories.

Between the mountain air and those flowering plants is an aura that feeds and frees my creative synapses. Absolutely amazing.

Some people might call it a ‘natural high’ but no. Whatever it is, it inspires, it energizes and encourages the freedom that is the base of creative thoughts, words and deeds.

ethereal

The airs are important. On the highest and northernmost massif of the Swiss Alps, the airs flow down, mingled with the airs of the plants and earth, otherwise undisturbed, from 4,000 meters (above sea level) over the surfaces of broad lakes into and among the gardens of the villages at 600 meters.

on high

Springtime rains mix air and earth…life begins to stir.

this is spring

This diverse mix of wild flowers bloom in that narrow window, just after the grasses green with life but before the grasses spurt with growth.

discover

Veritable glens, even forests of delicate spring flowers invite walks of discovery.

delicacy

And on the edge of civilisation where village garden meets mountain landscape…

Flowers, forest, animals, children, parents, play, nurture, gardens, landscape…

How can the beauty of spring become black and white and retain its ethereality?

The same but different. We have just to live it.