Who are the designs for?” I asked Mom. I had found Mom in Garden’s little Monastery. As a surprise, Jay had shipped the Monastery in pieces to Mom from Romania, the place where the vampires roamed. Jay had saved it from the wrecking ball. The Monastery had come in pieces inside large wooden packing crates. Fernando had assembled it like a jigsaw puzzle. It was now our little oasis, tucked in the part of the Garden where clients never wandered.
Eating the snack that Mom had brought for me, I watched her sketch new trees, flower-filled urns and green hedges. Shade dappled a table while two lounge chairs stretched in the sun. “I like that one,” I said, comparing it with a glance to the other sketches on the table.
Mom reflected, twisting her lips. She angled her head first one way and then the other as she did when she thought in images. Her eyes returned to her other drawings. When Mom designed gardens, she worked in waves, drawing ideas in pencil until her thoughts played out, hardly ever erasing. Mom added the water colour after. Mom could water colour any time, but her pencil designs had to be immediate. She said they were fleeting, like changing light, and had to be captured before they escaped.
“Perhaps!” she said suddenly, taking another sheet. She sketched at high speed. Back were the trees, but the urns changed from pottery to metal and a trellised wall enclosed the space. The whole trellis was covered in vines of honey suckle, clematis and climbing ivy. Now she was erasing. I looked more carefully. Into the trellis she made unevenly-sized rectangular windows which gave views of the city like pictures framed in a living vibrant green.
“That’s good!” I said.
“Mmm …” Mom answered, standing up with sketch pad and pencil. She had her faraway look now. Absently, her fingers trailed the stone as she walked the Monastery’s four small walls, her fingers tickling the toes of each its cherubs as she circled by their little nooks. Suddenly, she dropped to the sunny grass courtyard. Her hand flew. Her faraway look had cleared; a smile played across her lips.
I knew she had it then: a Garden to be treasured; a place where all were made better just by being within.
[Excerpt Landslide, Pages 91, 93]