Mexico November 2014-end of January 2015

In Mexico we continued with landscaping projects. Every time we dig there are rocks. I use them for creating paths. I enjoy the immersive, spatial problem of fitting such disparate shapes together. The paths are beginning to create distinct garden spaces on the property. Areas close to the house or over grey water drainage beds get more irrigation than those further away. Hours of sun and shade also play a role in appropriate plantings. The fruit trees are doing well with the limes and papayas producing regularly. The bananas, mango and avocado survived and are growing. I have used pineapple tops as a cover plant along pathways leading to the fruit tree area. Some of these are reaching maturity (after about 3 years) and have started to produce beautiful fruit.

Unfortunately we had to leave before tasting any, but have heard from our house sitter that the first ones were delicious and more are appearing. I look forward to tasting them one day.

The gingers and heliconia I planted over the grey water area to the west of the house, just above the studio spread extensively and bloomed consistently while we were there.

I divided some of these and began another bed with them just to the north of the house. Before making this bed we had to move two huge blue agave plants that a neighbour had given us as small babies several years ago. Their sharp leaf tips were getting dangerous because they had grown too close to the paths. Our neighbour and expert gardener Bulmoral, helped us move them to the rockery below the studio which has other cacti and spiky plants. The iguanas love to bask in the sun in this area.

We also planted some of small offshoots of the agave plants along the perimeter of the property outside fence. They don’t need much water and are a good deterrent for intruders. I also started three xeriscape beds with aloes, maguey morados and various types of cacti. Two are outside of the studio and one is in our south lot at the end of 2015’s rock path. It will be interesting to see how these gardens grow and how they will link to more rock paths creating new beds in the future.



My main studio project was to complete a folio of nature prints on handmade Japanese paper of leaves from trees from our property. Producing these images required a very methodical inking and burnishing process as I have no press in my Mexican studio. Like placing stones for pathways, it was wonderfully immersive and contemplative, but thankfully was a much less strenuous activity than moving rocks. I liked working out of the afternoon sun in my cool shady studio with the monochrome ink. I felt a suspension of time while working on the prints that I think comes across in the imagery. They are quiet images, evoking the history of botanical typology. They record a newly experienced and ordered environment distilled from the intensity of colour and light one typically experiences in Mexico.

Here is a link to the Botanica section

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