A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Living To Live & Bark Mulch At The VAG
Friday, April 25, 2014


 
Vancouver Art Gallery on the Howe Street Side


This year Rosemary and I have decided to open our garden in June for the Vancouver Rose Society. I was asked to send a garden bio. Below is what I sent.

Rosemary and I moved to our present location, a corner lot, in 1986. It took a while before we figured out what to do with it. We have been subject to the deaths of several Japanese acers (verticillium wilt), Lawson cypresses (root rot), three cherry trees (Winter Moth) and one apple tree. The increasing height of a large Western Red Cedar on our neighbour’s side (faces south) means that our garden with increasing shade will only grow what is growing. Many of our roses (we had at one time 85) have given up the ghost. Our garden is exemplary in showing some garden follies (too many trees we planted) and what really good garden plants are that can take the shade abuse.

I hope this will do. And by the way our garden appeared in both Canadian Gardener and the American Better Homes and Gardens.

This idea of opening a garden that is in decline because of a terrible and encroaching shade has been in the making since I heard that Vancouver photographer Phil Hersee died in March of 2013. He was 68 (I was 70 at the time), but I remember that soon after I had arrived in Vancouver in 1975 Hersee was taking pictures of beautiful models (my dream at the time) in a good studio in Gastown. From fashion he branched out into production stills for films being made in our city. By 1986 he had published a lovely Vancouver picture book, Vancouver- the Touch of Magic. It was a runner-up to the BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie.

I never did know Hersee well but I always remembered him for his fine British accent and his nicely clipped moustache. He was always polite and gracious with me.

But there is another reason why he has been in my thoughts in the last year. Hersee died of a terrible cancer of his lower dominions. Six months before he died he went to Horst Wenzel (we shared this excellent camera repair technician) for something and told him he had half a year of life. And yet this dying man would go to Beau Photo to buy supplies as if everything was just fine. 

I have seen the syndrome that affects people when they get old and feel they will soon have to move from their home so something smaller and manageable. Why repair the place if it is going to be ploughed over? Why fix a leaking toilet or re-do a floor, after all we will be soon out of here.

This mentality has hit, as an example our local Vancouver Art Gallery. They plan to move (if they do it will be years hence) and so it seems they have no concern that in recent weeks with all our rain, the gallery is surrounded by a muck (red it is) of water mixed with the bark mulch they have used. There are a few grassed promontories that could have some metal sculptures. The VAG is the cultural centre of our city. It will never figure out which is its front (no access on Georgia) or its back (where everything meaningful happens in its back steps. The back steps end up in a metal fence with spikes like the ones that protect soccer players in Latin America from rowdy fans. The VAG’s exterior is a disgrace.

In the 90s our VAG made lots of money from film and TV companies that used the inside halls of the gallery as law courts (which our VAG once was). It was almost impossible to pass by the gallery without seeing huge movie lights facing windows and big ladders and equipment that tore up the lawn that at one time made our gallery attractive on the outside.

Thanks to Phil Hersee we are opening our garden, business as usual, as if we were to live forever or somehow we are back to the garden of the 90s when it was at its prime.

Rosemary and I live today for today. We work in the garden. Who knows where either of us will be when death comes? That is not important. As I have learned from Hersee you either wait to die or you live to live. The choice is obvious.



     

Previous Posts
When Is A Blog Not A True Diary?

A Blurred Failure?

Jan van Eyk, Annie Leibovitz's Willie Nelson & A M...

That Unexplained Mystery That Is Illogic

Easter At Brock House With Abi

Lacrimosa dies illa At Dunbar Heights United Chur...

The Grandkid At The Gateway Theatre - A Gabork Of ...

The Bomb-Itty Of Errors -Teaches An Old Dog A New ...

Dead Toads

Saintly Derivations



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7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17