Thursday, January 24, 2008

You can't start them early enough. If it was not winter the hose would be running. It is quite clear that even well before 15 months of age a child (young Homo sapien)will mimic a parent or at least try persistently even when they can not stand for very long. I doubt she is having a Zen-like experience though she is trying to hand-water. Teach your children well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Newspaper coverage

Today, I and Zen of Watering Your Garden were the subject of a full page story in the Tallahassee Democrat our local paper, Circulation about 150,000. The story was right on point in terms of the purpose of the book.

Originally published January 17, 2008
Find peace in the garden
A Tallahassee doctor publishes 'Zen of Watering Your Garden'
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You know to slow down and smell the roses.

But what of the quiet pleasure of watering your garden with a hand-held hose?


Semi-retired Tallahassee physician Matt Cohen has plenty to say on the latter in his recently published "Zen of Watering Your Garden" (Sunbelt Publishers, $21.45).

A small coffee-table book, it offers 141 pages filled with beautifully reproduced photos of flowers, plants, fruits and water. Cohen, who has lived in Tallahassee for more than 30 years, took some of the photos himself (using a Canon camera) while others were taken by photographers from around the world.

The book also contains brief quotes about nature and life from thinkers such as Emerson, Frank Lloyd Wright and Lao Tzu as well as the 58-year-old author.

Cohen (who said he gained about 25 pounds while at the computer writing the book) got the idea for "Zen of Watering Your Garden" while driving around listening to tapes by Natalie Goldberg, a well-known writing teacher and the author of books such as "Writing Down the Bones" and "Old Friend from Far Away." Goldberg is also a longtime Zen practitioner.

As Cohen listened to Goldberg discuss the expansive mind-set of Zen, he said, he realized that he experienced a similar mental state in his garden.

"When I am watering my garden, I am one with the garden," he said.

"There is Zen in the garden. It's in the flow of water, the droplets, the sparkle, the smell of how the soil changes."

Then, too, there's the magic of watering drooping plants.

"You turn around, and the flowers have picked themselves up from the earth."

Gardener Lynn Barrera gave Cohen's book a big green thumbs up.

"I love the photos," said Barrera, who has known Matt and wife Leslie Cohen, an art teacher at Chiles High School, for many years. Barrera grows fruit (figs, kiwi, satsuma tangerines, grapes and persimmons) as well as seasonal vegetables in her home garden.

Maxine King, a neighbor of Cohen's, is also a fan of the book.

"I have really enjoyed it," King said. "It's a beautiful book, and the text is well chosen."

After getting a copy for herself, the 79-year-old King said, she decided to order five more as gifts. She enjoys the way the photos trigger almost forgotten memories. A picture of a watering can brought back memories of her grandmother, she said, while another reminded her of a yard she once played in as a girl.

Cohen, who also grows orchids, hopes that others will find mental, emotional or spiritual illumination in his book, too — or perhaps discover for the first time the pleasure of watering their own gardens.

Although he has self-published other books, none are like this one. His other self-publishing ventures have been practical guide books for nurse practitioners and others regarding established medical protocols for treating common problems such hypertension, ear infections, etc.

"This was a labor of love," he said. "It may be a fiscal failure, but c'est la vie. I am proud of the way it came out."

Copyright the Tallahassee Democrat 01-17-2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Japanese Maples in the Winter

The Japanese maples grow very well in our area of Zone *. They allseem to do well, those that grow to 20 ft and those that are ultra dwarf. I do nothing special. Mine are planted in simple beds of border grass which probably keeps them from drying out during droughts. I do not bother to drag the hoses to them as they fram the corners of the beds in the front of the house. The bare tree is beautiful for its delicate branches. The Autumnal tree creates a proverbial or biblical burning bush (but I will hold those pictures for a later time. NOW i WILL JUST REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF THE EMPTY BRANCHES AND OF THE LEAVES THE HAVE FALLEN ON THE BORDER GRASS.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Violas as a String Quartet

Despite a hard freeze somehow my violas which look wiskered but could easily be considered a 'strung with gut' survived as a string quartet and greeted me with a late morning song.