Saturday, October 31, 2009

Get Outta Dodge

Another Halloween eve is upon moi. And so is decision time.
Do I hang (no pun intended) with the Goose?...curtains drawn, lights turned low... my GREAT PUMPKIN dvd spinning in the background...or do I "get the #@* outta Dodge" before nightfall?

Way too early, very squirrelly...still undecided.
In the meantime I've plenty of cleaning to do around the house...scary 'nuff.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flying Shoes : Part Deux

Regardless of the trigger there comes a time we reach a tipping point - an emotional saturation. You're done.

It might have been under bearable circumstances but more than likely... not so much. It could have been our own doing or we were dropped into the middle of a situation without warning.

But realization happens in a split second...and can't be undone. Just as you can't un-ring a bell. It's once again time to move to the front of the line. And with a deep breath you step forward.
All you need is the perfect foot wear.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gold, Yellow And Red

Knee deep in gold, yellow and red.

Smell of fresh earth.

The Rock Dove struts,

The black squirrel leaps with bounty.

Leaves fall - blanketing garden stems.

Footsteps swish and crunch.

Knee deep in gold, yellow and red.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


There are some things you can never explain such as what is pleasing to the eye of one and not another.

It's obviously very subjective but personally speaking I find spirals very pleasing and I try to incorporate some form of spiral in every design I draw and every landscape I build.

It may be subtle but it's always there - like a signature - if you know what to look for.

And the best example of a spiral is the Ammonite. Spanning back millions of years they are the most beautiful natural garden element I can think of.

The Ammonite fossil that resides on my desk is dated at 450 million years old.
This pic is actually a cast paver created from a mold using an assortment of genuine Ammonites. I love this piece.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Goin' Ninja

Today I'm on a mission. A mission to relax.

Okay I still have a pile of things to get done, around the house especially, but I also need to chill for a while.

So far things are looking good. I've gotten a fairly early start and I'll soon be out the door to deliver some invoices.

Next I'm back at it...looking at cellphones...believe it or not I ran out of time last weekend....ran-out-of-time-people!

I picked the model I want/need but now comes the part I absolutely suck at...deciphering the monthly plans. You know what I'm talking about.

If I can finally get that out of the way it's off for some (covert) research on the competition...yes I'm goin' NINJA. I will become the shadow on the wall, the wind that spins the leaves around your feet...completely unnoticed to all but the highly trained eye.

Unless of course someone happens to recognize me from across the street and yells , "Hey Skodaman ! What are you doing over there!?"

Which in that case I would have to respond at super light speed, drawing on my cheetah-like instincts and stammer...."uh, nuthin" I fleeeeee!

Another day...another step.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Karma Rules

It was a dreary day but there was still work to be done. I had promised the couple (mentioned in an earlier post) to continue liberating pieces of hand cut stone from their neighbouring soon-to-be-demolished home.

Well, I've pulled up about 90% of the Flag Stone and now I have recovered three of the five stone slab steps.

They turned out to be 6 feet long and approximately 160 lbs each. Yikes ! It's going to be an Advil night.

I got drenched during the rain but no matter come Summer these re-claimed pieces will be put to good use in the client's Zen garden - which I've yet to design...a minor detail.

I'm really excited about this project as I've been given total freedom.

I did have a minor run-in with a City By-Law official but all is well once again and harmony has been restored...Karma Rules !

Friday, October 23, 2009


As I wander my yard the steady drizzle and overcast skies make for a great backdrop to the amazing colours of the changing leaves. Not all have fallen and the leaves still in waiting are getting brighter each day. Bright yellows, bright oranges and deep reds.

The Choke Cherry has left a carpet of dark purple around the base of it's trunk. And the Silver Leaf Dogwoods have been stripped bare by the wind and rain which gave me the opportunity to find some of the straighter stems for cutting.

They are great stems for display. They retain their waxy red sheen throughout winter and are a great contrast to the snow.
This pic shows an older piece of work. A cast stone pumpkin tucked into a garden bed near my porch. It's been finished in antique copper.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Arghhh ! My once trusty Dodge Ram 4x4 has yet again met it's annual obligation for giving me grief.

I guess I shouldn't really complain as it's been logging many a mile this past few months with no relief in sight.

I treat it like any other tool in the shed or tool box and thus it's subject to some hard use with only basic care. ..tough love as it were.
But I'm no stranger to field repairs. And fixing parts on-the-fly goes hand in hand with this type of work..

But parts do wear quickly and continue to age regardless of how well looked after...just like people.

Just something else I have to consider replacing as time moves on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Primal Bonding

The weather is getting a little cooler now... especially at night. Had frost a couple of mornings.

I don't know why but every year around this time I need to get my construction fix. Something about the crisp mornings that just begs for loud obnoxious power tools that grind, bore and beltch.

I own many and yes I put them to use these past few weekends.

The days I've not been working on a site I've instead been reclaiming some Credit Valley flagstone from the porch of an unoccupied home (with permission of course) that's being readied for demolition. Using a mallet, chisels and the obnoxious tool of choice - the jackhammer - always a crowd pleaser on a Sunday morning.

The request came from a couple that wants the pieces of stone...not anyone to do with the house so technically it's scavenging. But I think it's my moral duty to liberate these beautiful pieces of hand cut stone before the demolition crews arrive and literally pulverize the home in it's entirety simply to fill a bin or three.

The reclaimed pieces will now live-on as garden steppers.

The five foot wide step slabs are next...if I can ever remember to bring a dolly.

And this past Sunday found me with my Bosch 'bulldog' boring holes into a concrete pool surround. It was being prepped to install brass anchors for the new spring-loaded trampoline style pool cover - very cool.

Lots of noise, lots of dust, lots of bore holes - it was great.

The job took longer than expected but the majority of work was completed before dark and afterwards we celebrated Pagan style by consuming large portions of roasted animals with a side order of vegetation...and Pepsi. The only thing missing was a bonfire.

Primal bonding at its best.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stones On Stump

This being so short on time thing is really not helpful at all.

So here's another pic from the grab bag.
It's from my own garden.
Pretty self-explanatory but the grouping reminded me of some ancient setting.
Prehistoric eggs waiting to be overgrown by the reaching vine.
They'll be soon covered over - completely hidden - and then hatch in a million years into some giant reptilian critters, worthy of a Japanese Sci-Fi, that will stomp the crap out of cars and such...just a thought.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


No matter what you toss into a garden it's very hard to go wrong. I find the nicest gardens are directly related to how much the owner puts into it.

I don't think a 'class' in garden design is need to have some passion, real honest to goodness heart. And only then will the soul emerge through your efforts.

So, the moral of this story is to simply... go for it! Plant what you whatever you it an old baby stroller or an old clothes dresser. Just do it ! Or you can always call me...

Results do take time, usually years, but it's always worth it in the end. And how successfull you have been is directly related to how often you find yourself strolling your own gardens.

This pic is from a garden bed in my backyard.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Omega Man

It's been a while since I've created anything new. For someone that thrives on being creative this is a very neutral spot to occupy.

It's deafeningly quiet and solitary but not entirely uncomfortable. It's somewhere between where I was and where I'm ultimately supposed to be.

I'm like The Omega Man (remember the Charlton Heston film back in the 70's?) except without the chases, crashing cars and psychopaths - though my cel phone did take a crushing blow from some equipment this week and I did cross paths with some unruly characters in the line-up at Tim's.

I wonder if that counts? Maybe it was a sign? One thing's for sure I'm in the market for yet another cel phone.

So, I'm sort of on autopilot which is the reason for the old stand-by Booga pic. This guy is becoming the mascot. Except this particular image has new growth in the form of Snake Grass reaching skyward from its headdress.

I suppose there's a touch of symbolism there.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Well it's not the first time and probably won't be the the mood to write but with no time to do so.

Instead I'll just leave you with a pic of a Nasturtium gone 'commando' near my deck.


Monday, October 12, 2009

One Constant

I think the best composit-ions are arrived at after much trial and error and many different unrelated elements are incorporated.

In this day of instant gratification and the notion that one should just throw it away and start fresh I'm reminded of this particular grouping where the exact opposite approach was applied.

A gathering of rock, stone and plant life that would have much less impact as individual placements but when collected over the years and grouped in a seemingly random pattern around the one constant anchoring element (in this case the tree trunk) the picture comes together - it makes sense.

The same could be said of relationships. We experience and collect the shared events and memories of our time together, both good and bad, and when placed around a constant element, a committment, a wonderful composition begins to emerge in the end.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Beginning

As with every ending there had to once have been a beginning. I'm salvaging pics from many sources as I rebuild my files.

After designing, building and tending to my own landscape for so many years now it's interesting to see shots of how it looked on 'day one'...or maybe it was two.

This pic is of the area dividing my driveway from my neighbour's. It was taken around the summer of 2002. In it you can see the large blocks of limestone, or "Armour stone", surrounded by Japanese spreading Yew, Blue Arrow Junipers, some Fountain Grass and Black-Eyed Susan's all rising from a thick bed of pea gravel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I always find it uplifting to encounter animals during my daily routine. The day started when a stray orange tabby cat approached me for some attention one chilly morning. It was a great start to the day. When he had had his fill of being scratched he simply trotted off...hmmph.

Later on I spotted a very young Deer munching away in a garden directly neighbouring a new clients fence. It kept its distance but was still great to witness...actually probably not so much for the owner of the garden.

And finally upon arriving home I found one of my garden regulars lounging in a thick bed of clover close to the back of the house. I decided to join him with my camera and a steaming cup of tea.
And though he did tune in to me with a twist of his ears he made no attempt to bolt. I like to believe that encounters of these types all mean that something very positive is in the air.
Today's pic is of that visitor.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Trails

Okay so here we are another year or so later since I started this whole blogging thing. And I have to confess it's been fun to express myself to so many readers using only a keyboard. Am I changing the world?...doubtful, but people are reading so that has to mean something.

I know it helps me to be writing.
So back to the topic at hand. The gardens have changed greatly over the last few days. The leaves are preparing for the colder weather by changing colour and beginning their descent that signals we are close to one of which is normally my favorite times of the year.
Fall is the time of thick sweaters, hot coffee on the deck and afternoon drives into the country to enjoy the last of the farmers markets.
Soon the neighbours we see regularly will go into hiding from the fast approaching winter and another year of our lives can be chalked up to experience. I hope yours has been a good one and if it hasn't my best wishes for a better one ahead.
For the next few posts I have a grab bag of pics to showcase. I'm still getting back on my feet after a computer meltdown punctuated what was hopefully the turning point to the free fall my life took this past Summer.
This particular shot is of a large Jade in a handcrafted pot that I spotted.