Garden

Our home is a renovated 1845 carriage house that is located on 3 Lake avenue in Newton Center in Mass. It is positioned very close to the sidewalk but there is enough room to have a robust garden both in front of the house as well as on the berm. The painting is by Alfred Mira, a Newton artist

Mission

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 late parents Joyce and Percy Davidoff

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

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1 Athalie Avenue Linksfield
garden, home, South Africa, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD
Side of the House, Hibiscus, Bougainvillea
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Jacaranda, Loquat tree, Aloe and Bougainvillea
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Willow Tree
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Rock Garden Hibiscus and Swimming Pool
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Protea

The Story We Want to Tell in Our Newton Garden
From Generation to Generation
Le'Dor VaDor

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.

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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.

The 10-foot waterfall is attended by hundreds of stone figures with colorful heads, standing silently and witnessing the spirituality of Sinai.
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 Children of Israel witnessing Moses Receiving the 10 Commandments
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Children of Israel to the Left of the Waterfall

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.  

garden, children of Israel, Mount Sinai, ten commandments, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD
Former generations at Mount Sinai at the top of the garden. Additionally two figures from native South Africa with heads turned to the heavens.

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.

Method

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. 

Sweet spot (red dot) in front of the large waterfall and in front of Moses and the ten commandments
The two Mount Sinai scenes representing the current generation (front) and the previous generations (high on the hill) are connected by a rivulet. In addition two other smaller waterfalls flank the the "hot spot"..
A rivulet also conects the top waterfall to the smaller right sided waterfall
The plantings not only face the hot spot but also were planted in a series of triangles with the apex of each triangle pointing to the upper waterfall
home, garden, Ashley Davidoff MD, The Common Vein
There are 2 stone sculptures that each represent mount Sinai of separate generations of the Jewish people. One is at the apex of the garden at the top of the hill, and the second is at the bottom of the garden . The "X" in this image represents the"hot spot" or center of the garden so that when you stand at this place, all the plants and trees that surround you, are directed to and oriented toward you and this "X" spot. When you cast your eyes to the top of the first triangle you will see the apex of the waterfall, and when you cast your eyes to the second and higher mount Sinai you cast your eyes to the heavens!
To complete the attempt at Oneness the house is surrounded completely by plantings and flowers to the sides. Gardens are planted to the left and right of the waterfalls, but also in the front of the house and on the berm. The "hot spot" is therefore completely surrounded by 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.

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An Overview of the Front showing the Set of Two Barn Doors. The larger on the left is the main entrance and the smaller on the right, is not functional. There are a pair of antique grape carts in front of the smaller door that act as a planting space.

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” 

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The Garden of the Small House, and to its right 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.

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The Berm Garden

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.

Central Garden

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Central Garden

Right Garden

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Right Garden at the Bottom
Right Garden at the Bottom
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Right Garden by the Right Waterfall

Left Garden - Overview

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garden, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD
garden, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD

Neighbour's Garden

Sidewalk

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.  

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Sidewalk in early Spring
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As you walk past the house you are closely surrounded by trees and flowers on both sides.

The Wedding Garden in the Front

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As you face the house, the most extreme right garden is called the "Wedding garden" since there is a bride and groom surrounded by friends and family and many flowers including a dominant rose. On the berm there is the "sock installation" which consist of old socks mounted on sticks that indicate the the position of the dahlia plantings.
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Bride and Groom 2005
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Wedding Scene in the Rose Garden
Preparing the Wedding Garden
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Dancers in the Wedding Garden

The Little House Garden

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Little House Garden and a Clematis climbing the telephone pole
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Bonsai Village with Twirly Wirly People of the Miniature Garden in front of the "Little House" garden. Photography by Talya Davidoff 2006
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"Little House Garden in 2017 now decorated with an arched log with 2 gnomes an old kettle, a display of feathers and twigs and an American flag.

The Small Double Barn Door Garden

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next in line is the "Small Double Barn Door" garden which is a display of annuals that are planted in antique grape box carts.
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Magnified view
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Boxed flowers on antique wine carts in front of small barn door 2005
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Oriental grasses on the berm in their prime in front of the "Small Double Barn Door" garden. The pink climbing roses above the door are about to bloom.
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Boxed flowers on antique grape carts in front of small barn door 2017

Large Barn Door Garden

The large barn door garden is the main entrance to the home.

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Front Entrance 2005
Front Entrance 2017
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To the right of the main entrance 2005
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Left of Front Door 2017
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Climbing roses on the left of the front door 2003
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Right Side Garden

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Entrance to the Right Garden 2010
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Base of Right Garden 2003 . 'Boy with Yapping Dog" and Buddhist Priest in Prayer"
New base of right garden 2017
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Walking toward the stone steps 2010
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The Stone Steps by the first Waterfall
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The first waterfal - right garden
Waterfall of the Right Garden 2002
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Right Garden transitioning to Middle Garden

THE MIDDLE GARDEN

Design - Le Dor Vador
dedicated to my late parents

home, garden, Ashley Davidoff MD, The Common Vein
There are 2 stone sculptures that each represent mount Sinai of separate generations of the Jewish people. One is at the apex of the garden at the top of the hill, and the second is at the bottom of the garden . The X represents the centre of the garden so that when you stand at this place, all the plants and trees that surround you, are directed to and oriented toward you and this "X" spot. When you cast your eyes to the top of the first triangle you will see the apex of the waterfall, and when you cast your eyes to the second and higher mount Sinai you cast your eyes to the heavens!
home, garden, Ashley Davidoff MD, The Common Vein
Hundreds of stone sculpture directed to the waterfall reprsenting the children of Israel witnessing the receiving of the ten commandments at mount Sinai.
home, garden, Ashley Davidoff MD, The Common Vein
12 foot waterfall and children of Israel witness the spectacle of receiving the Ten Commandments

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 Tolleson’s weeping evergreen Mount Sinai people of Israel green garden Davidoff garden

Second Waterfall

82752p Mount Sinai Ten Commandments triangle second waterfall Davidoff garden Photography by Talya Davidoff

New Garden on the Hill

Maples Weeded Early Terracing and Early Framework May 2011

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Maples Weeded Early Terracing and Early Framework June 2011

new garden the hill Ron and neal Gold construction spring 2011 rocks terracing garden Davidoff photography Copyright 2012 102428p.8s

A Closer Look

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July 2011

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By Summers End 2011 – Garden Complete

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September 2011

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MAy 2012

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To be continued……………

Late Winter Early Spring

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90812p.8s late winter early spring Red Hellebore home Davidoff photography garden Copyright Davidoff

Mature Fall

but it don’t last too long

93408p.8s 3 LAke Avenue newton center October 2009 from the kitchen window autumn fall Davidoff photography copyright 2009 all rights reserved

One Month Later

93828p.8s One month difference between this image and the one taken in the fall of 2009 This was the first snowfall of theis year garden time Davidoff photography Copyright 2009 winter snow

Dancers

87823p.8s home 3 Lake Avenue Newton garden flowers dancer early summer Newton Open Studios Davidoff art copyright 2009 all rights reserved flower mid to late summer ladybells Tall, 24- to 30-inch spires of dark blue, bell-shaped flowers bloom in mid- to late summer. These flowers are often found in old gardens, as they persist for years.

A Stolen Kiss in the Garden

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Monk in Meditation

68976 home Davidoff art monk in the garden Davidoff garden Courtesy Ashley Davidoff MD art

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).

garden, sculpture, monk in meditation, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD
garden, sculpture, kiss, The Common Vein, Ashley Davidoff MD

TCV