In planting our garden our first mission was to honor and dedicate the garden to my late parents.
The second mission was for the garden to tell a story.
The third was to pursue Oneness in the garden. .
Honoring My Parents
My father and his family fled their native country from the town of Vitebsk in 1921. Vitebsk, now a city in Belarus was annexed by the Russian Empire after the first Polish partition in 1772 . Against extreme adversity he and his family “flourished”. My mother was also of Lithuanian extract but was born in Plumstead in the Cape province in South Africa. My father was a quiet and humble man,and always straight in his ways. My mother came from a musical family and dedicated her life to her three sons. She taught me the art of self expression. She loved her beautiful garden and had many pleasurable outings at local nurseries. The apple did not fall from the tree.
Our Garden in Linksfield Johannesburg
The Story We Want to Tell in Our Newton Garden
From Generation to Generation
Bridging the dedication to my late parents is the notion that we are here because of those that preceded us. We are genetically and culturally a consequence of an earlier seed. Our responsibility is to build on to what have been foundation values to enable a rich and fulfilling life and then to pass on the lessons learned. There is not enough time in a single life to fully reinvent the wheel that has been created over thousands of years. In Hebrew the concept is embodied in the words Le Dor Vador – from generation to generation. This is the name of the garden
The moral epicenter and foundation of the Jewish culture stems from the 10 Commandments which was handed down to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. To this end the central focus of the garden is a 10 foot waterfall that contains two flat rocks at the top of the waterfall that represent the two tablets. The yellow “aleph” represents the first letter of the the first word of the first commandment. Moses shoulders these two tablets.
On either side of the waterfall hundreds of stone sculptures represent the people of Israel and they are turned are turned toward Moses and the ten commandments as they receive the foundation principles of their culture.
This waterfall represents the current generation – right in front of us and with us. At the top of the garden is a a monument and a waterfall with its own Sinai and children of Israel representing all the other generations from Abraham and Sarah.
This top waterfall is connected by a rivulet to the waterfall of the current generation at the bottom of the hill inferring the connections and bonds between them – Le Dor Va Dor – the continuity of generations through life sustaining and giving water.
Oneness in the Garden 1 + 1 = 1
The key in my life is to pursue the Oneness of things. These are the things that are so pure and true that they induce a rare and elevated sensation a viscerally often recognized by the sudden sensation of goosebumps. Whether it is in music, dance, literature, sports, places in nature or places of prayer for example, the single rare but universal feeling of awe enables us to stand back in wonder and make us happy to be alive, but takes us to another level.
Hence in designing the garden I wanted to try and find the sweet spot and attempt to bring it all together in Oneness and to try and bring this rare feeling to the viewer.
The main part of the garden is the back where the waterfalls are found. The initial mission was to identify the “sweet spot” of the garden.
Sweet Spot - Center of the Garden
The sweet spot (red dot in the diagram below) in the back garden is positioned on the deck, right in front of the 10 foot waterfall that houses Moses and the 10 commandments. Whenever a new shrub or tree was planted it was oriented toward the sweet spot. In this way I was trying to ensure the focus and Oneness of the garden.
Visiting the Garden An Overview
The garden art is set around a mid 19th -century carriage house, decorated with hand-painted flowers.
Sections of the Garden
There is a front garden and a back garden.
Front Garden - Overview
The front garden is on Lake avenue and is the only part that gets a reasonable amount of sun. We have therefore taken advantage of the berm and the short frontage to “pack” every inch of space with plantings. The space in front of the house is also limited since the house is very close to the sidewalk. Two barn doors dominate the front of the house. The larger to the left is the main front entrance to the house. The second set of smaller doors are not functional.
To the right of the smaller barn doors there is a dolls house.In front of the dolls house is a fantasy garden with bonsai type plantings. This garden has housed a variety of abstract garden projects including the village of the squiggly people, Frog on a Log and the Boston Tea Party. To its right is the ‘Wedding Garden”
The front garden has two parts, one directly in front of the house which is separated from the garden on the berm by the sidewalk.
Back Garden - Overview
There are 4 sections; The central middle portion that contains the previously described large waterfall at Mount Sinai. There is a garden to its right, and one to its left, and lastly on the extreme left is the neighbor’s garden which we planted when the house was being renovated.
Left Garden - Overview
As you walk down the sidewalk on your one side is a garden close to the house and on your other side is the berm which has been planted as well.
The Wedding Garden in the Front
The Little House Garden
The Small Double Barn Door Garden
Large Barn Door Garden
The large barn door garden is the main entrance to the home.
Right Side Garden
THE MIDDLE GARDEN
Design - Le Dor Vador
dedicated to my late parents
In addition to the basic design simple stone sculptures usually consisting of only two rocks or driftwood are placed to add interest. Hidden among the beds in the front, you will find “The Wedding”, and some from aged tree stumps and roots (Youth). A children’s playhouse is landscaped with miniature alpines and mystical figures of weathered branches, old bark, moss, and shells.
Around the corner you will be greeted by a magical garden with three waterfalls. In the garden mingle a host of personalities created from natural elements in minimalist combination – “The Stick Man with his Yapping Dog”, a man and women in passionate conversation, a monk in meditation, and two Swazi men looking to the heavens for their inspiration.
The driving intellectual force is a program called The Common Vein, which unites art, nature and biology. (thecommonvein.com).