Freeman Patterson
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The Garden
A Visual Design Workshop
The Garden
When we want to learn something important about ourselves, it's a good idea to go into our garden. We'll find that we've planted a lot of answers there.

Every garden and every gardener is a work in progress. And, no matter how tiny or grand, how colourful or restrained, how wild or ordered, the garden is a metaphor for the gardener. When you invite somebody into your garden you are inviting them to meet you.

Although our garden may be like a "persona", one facet of our personality that we want the world to see, more likely it is the face that we, as gardeners, want to show ourselves. So, when we observe and contemplate our creation carefully, we can learn a great deal both about who we are and who we want to be.

I am forever gardening in my imagination. Have you ever met a gardener who isn't? I don't mean creating scenarios that we would like to reproduce in the physical world, but gardens we never can and probably nobody else can either - even if our financial resources were unlimited and our patience endless. But, perhaps we will draw or paint our imaginary gardens or, in my case, create them as photographs...

Because every garden is a place of dreams and every gardener is a dreamer, we should find nothing strange and much that is helpful in examining the symbolic content of our own and other gardens. Are the paths straight, or do they curve and wander? What colours appear consistently? Does the gardener worry about ripping out every last weed?

From the Preface...

Eternity travels in circles. The seasons roll around and around, and every year when the winds blow warmer and mists swirl through the forests and over the fields, the expectant Earth stirs, and with her life energy begins the birthing process.

Catkins appear on aspens and birches. Sprightly, green fern crosiers shove upward through the mulch of last year's darkened fronds. In the meadow a new and vibrant generation of daffodils, jonquils, narcissus - call them what you will - begins to sway and dance, intent on celebration. And, once again, the grass grows by itself.

I live out of doors in these days of arousal and quickening, these days when everything good seems possible again. I also live inside myself more powerfully than I have in months, because I feel Earth's life energy kindling, creating, birthing in me. I am inspired to journey out of doors and to travel inward simultaneously, because spring is everywhere


The Garden
" "I have an emotional attachment to Earth that goes far beyond my ability to understand or explain. I believe that our species is no more special, in nature's scheme of things, than any other, and that all life habitats should be treated with the same care, respect, and dignity with which we, in our best moments, treat our fellow human beings."
-Freeman Patterson taken from Portraits of Earth
Freeman Patterson's garden is a place where rain is as important as sunshine, where colours blend seamlessly with fragrances, imagination and dreams, and where everything that lives and grows also dies, but where the cycle of life continues.

Patterson has captured his five seasons with his arresting visual genius. We begin in the misty mornings of early spring - the first green shoots against a soggy and grey landscape. Summer brings the riotous palette of hundreds of species of flowers and expanses of hay-scented ferns. Autumn juxtaposes close-ups of gold leaves against frost-gilded petals and berries, and a wondrous winter weaves a tapestry of white flakes, mid-brown grasses, and tiny black shadows.

In a "fifth season", the book ends, where it began, and as all gardens do, with rebirth, a symbol of hope and new beginnings.

Freeman uses the symbol of the eternal garden as a vehicle for internal reflection. His intimate text applies the wisdom gained from observing a garden to real life - the delight of seed catalogues, keeping the deer away from hostas, the importance of having chairs in a garden, to the function of pathways; the beauty of roses in the soft, first light.

The Garden is a breathtaking accomplishment by a rare talent; it will delight, it will calm, it will inspire.
Key Porter - March 2003

The Garden
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