Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who You Callen' Peckerwood?

If you're making the blog rounds you know about the Austin Bloggers Field Trip to Peckerwood Gardens arranged by the lovely Diana of Sharing Natures Garden...we had a blast! Well, my idea of a blast...strolling the grounds of an artists dream, where every turn brings soft grass corridors lined with intricate textures, modern art, majestic oaks of every flavor mounded atop carefully designed contours. No thought left to Mother Nature...except of course the brilliant design of each healthy specimen. It was like the adult version of Willie Wonka's Chocolate room, remember the magic? Had I a nice organic Cabernet it would have been that for Verruca Salt to boot.

When I got back to my tiny Crestview plot I wasn't as depressed or sad as I thought I might be.
My garden doesn't compare to the grande scale of Peckerwood, or any other arboretum, conservancy-fancy-schmancy work of living art, but it does look like me. Recycled yard art, unfinished projects, messy animals, work's where I am right now, and that's all I have time to do. I wish I had two full time gardeners and 40 acres...hmmm, what would I do different? That's another storey, but to start with...I'd make up a name. "Peckerwood" comes from the old 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis, it's a one liner referring to where Mr. Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside is from. My step-dad called anyone who disagreed with him a 'peckerwood' and it always raised a snicker. Apparently the name was coined in the early 1900's by blacks in the south who saw themselves as blackbirds and poor-working-class whites as wood-peckers because of their boisterous behavior, later being reversed as 'peckerwoods.' Today the white supremacists proudly call themselves peckerwoods and their female counterparts featherwoods. This wasn't such a pleasant finding...put a damper in my sunny afternoon, but got me thinking about what's in a name.

That being said, I was swimming in all those blasted botanical names that just rolled off our guides tongue...I ended up buying a baby cactus...neobuxbauhmia polyopha, say that three times. Still doesn't stick. It looked like a prickly pecker and made me giggle so I bought it, even though I couldn't say his botanical name, I just call him Peter.

Our tour lasted a short 2 hours and I could have stayed all day and watched the stars come up. It's outside of Hempstead about 2 hours east of Austin off 290, hardly any light pollution and I know the evenings must be glorious. Before you head out for an inspiring day trip, you need to check their website because they are hardly ever opened to the public and kids under 12 aren't allowed. It's pretty prickly, no pun intended.

Here's some of my view:

Punk Rock Cacti
Artichoke looking thingy
One of the many organic curvilinear edges
Cute as a Button Cacti
This was just impressive and massive
Rock Plants
Magical texture
Magical texture with peckerwoods
Blogging hat ladies
Wisteria making love to a pole

The real history of the garden and it's founder John Fairey can be found on the website. I'm afraid if I upload anymore shots it'd spoil the trip! I'll leave you with just one more image from Peckerwood Gardens:
I was unable to find the artists name on this one...

Happy Gardening


Pam/Digging said...

What a priceless way to end your post, Cheryl. I'm glad to have met you and been able to spend time getting to know you on this field trip. It truly was a special day.

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks Pam, I thoroughly enjoyed your company! That was fun, let's do it again:)

Annie in Austin said...

Oh Cheryl - I'm bouncing through the Peckerwood Posts, having a wonderful time and yours is such a kick! Loved the insights and the photos - the Blogging Hat ladies are beautiful.

That last bit of sculpture looks like the mushroom variety named Phallus impudicus rendered in bamboo. I wonder if that was the original intent?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

I love reading all our posts--it's like the 7 blind men describing the elephant. Infinite in variety. What a gorgeous day and a gorgeous garden.

ConsciousGardener said...

haha Annie, that's funny! We had a blast and I can't wait to meet you in the flesh:)

Diana said...

What a lovely perspective on our interesting and educational day. Loved the rest of the name background - thanks for doing the research on it. Great photos!

vertie said...

Thanks for the information on the meaning of "peckerwood." It was great to meet you. And it is so interesting what called to each of us in the garden.

Layanee said...

Each Austin 'Peckerwood' blogger has such a different view through the lens. More great photos and a sense of fun! Sounds as though it was a great day.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I so enjoyed your take on the Peckerwood journey. Where I grew up it was an insult to be called a Peckerwood. Just goes to show someone over there has a sense of humor.

Your artists eye sure gave us some beautiful garden photos to look at. Great inspiration.

ConsciousGardener said...

Yea, my dad never meant it kindly...John Fairey certainly isn't a Peckerwood:)

lh said...

This is a late comment, two months late actually, but I just now found your excellent blog. If Peckerwood is named after Beauregard’s place, that must mean the garden’s author was inspired by the semi-fictional and fabulous Auntie Mame, whose motto was, “Life is a banquet, but most poor sons of bitches are starving to death.” Thanks for sharing photos and your experiences at this fascinating garden.