September 7 afternoon
I came home and did all the disinfecting, scrubbing, soaking and mould reconditioning and returned to the garden about 3:30 or 4. Seeing the weather channel has suggested it might rain this evening, and rain looked imminent when I left home, I decided to leave the cleaned children at home to stay dry overnight. I managed to get three moulds on squash that had not grown too big. This is becoming pretty tricky without squashing vines underfoot. I sprayed bordo on the south garden and a bit of the north and (adhering to my new principle that there is no such thing as too much water for the next two weeks) watered well.
No matter how much you water it still isn’t as good as rain.
A few people came by. One lady who had been by a few weeks ago with her grand daughter ( and taken a few for eating squash) brought a few friends to show them the garden. She told me that she had brought her other grand daughter to see the garden and that they had then gone into the gallery where the young woman fell in love with John Kissik’s paintings and wants to paint her room that way. A family – two women, one baby, one toddler and two girls on bikes, aged about nine or ten – arrived just as I was leaving. They walked around the garden – very interested looking for, and quietly showing each other, the babies and murmurously comparing notes. They were all obviously having a good time (except perhaps the baby who was just sitting in a stroller – maybe wondering where HE came from) and it pleased me. It is that quiet time of the day where everyone has gone home and the light is golden red.
I have had another holiday from gardening and Cindy has continued to to water the garden for me. I sprained my foot badly on Monday and am still a bit of a hop-along. I had been quite concerned that with all the rain over the weekend that my tiny baby candidates of last week would have grown too large for the moulds – so my agenda was to take off all the moulds and see what I had in there and replace them on the newer baby candidates (generally the babies form better if they grow quickly – so after two weeks if they don’t have a nose the plant’s energy becomes directed elsewhere) , prune judiciously, and do a bordo spray.
Well as I was pruning – at this point cutting off unruly growing ends and placing others so that they will grow over any remaining garden bald spots – I saw heat that the squirrels had been in again. This time they had bitten the eye of the perfect boy baby and taken off one of the hands of Mr. Big’s eldest. It is just heartbreaking. I did not photograph the damage because it is just too depressing.
Because my work window is later again (now about 7 – 10) the gallery was open shortly after this horrible discovery so I was able to use gallery staplegun to repair the upper part of the SG netting (and reclaim my shoelaces) and gallery string and an extra bit of netting to repair a new hole made by the varmits on the south end of the garden.
Rotting in the mould
I released the growing babies from the moulds. This was a bit depressing too. One was too premature to survive. Two were somewhat premature and somewhat noseless. One ROTTED IN THE MOULD. One perfect tiny girl is disfigured by very bad skin. Only one large boy is pretty good. Many of them had algae growing on their backs – no doubt a result of the rain that had entered the moulds through the breathing holes. Under the circumstances I decided to take surviving babies and moulds back to the hospital and wipe the babies down with bleach and soak the moulds in same plus recondition – an all day event , I am afraid. At this point I have decided to only re-use the moulds I am most interested in and water like heck – all the other candidates will be unlucky – sometimes less is more, survival of the fittest, and all that.
No time for the bordo spray this a.m. I will try to put on a few moulds this evening. It is going to be a busy week.
PS: The baby girl that had been taken to the hospital for treatment is not doing well/surviving. Her dreadful condition has been exacerbated by a rodent WHO BROKE INTO THE HOSPITAL. I will have to plant her this week. It is very sad. Also I got a bad cut on my hand when I was releasing the poor children from their moulds and bled all over the place. Everything is awful and it is too hot again.
August 30 – part 2
Some of the smallish squash at the back of the south garden looked CHEWED. It appeared that some of the netting up top had detached from the crossbar – clearly some fuzzy beasts had been getting in – and, as usual, taken a bite and decided not to continue. Squirrels are generally so frantic and confused that I am surprised (and grateful) that they could find their way out again and not frantically torn up the whole garden or eaten any of the grown children.
I did not have any implements to repair the damage and the gallery was not open until 12 – so I used my shoelaces to sew up the gap – reminding myself to bring string and a staple gun today.
I also visited the garden yesterday evening. I had purchased some solar lights and put three in the garden too see how it would work. I was very pleased with the result which is subtle but effective. They work best when there is a leafy roof over them – otherwise just get lost in the glare of the overhead lights – so I decided I should amend my pruning strategy.
Today I just watered and finished the spray. Of course I forgot to bring a staplegun and string – so I shall remain without shoelaces.
August 30 – Part 1
Hope Springs Eternal
Before leaving on vacation I made crowns for all the children that had been born and took their portraits. I used some very plain crowns taken from a 2008 piece called Hope Springs Eternal. (2008 was a bad year. I tried to grow arctic animals – but they were destroyed by the SVB – so was forced to have an exhibition featuring Happy Thanksgiving Polar Bear Pumpkin Pie.) I like the continuity. I also gave them a good spray of bordo powder,watered, pruned, and put on as many moulds as feasible in the hope of having another crop of babies when I returned.
Yesterday was my first day back in the garden. It is amazing how much these plants grow in a little more than a week. I also notice the change in the time of dawn. My work window is now 6:30 to 9:30 when the sun begins to broil things up. I radically pruned, watered and sprayed. The babies are almost finished – but looked noseless and any squash baby candidates were either too big for the moulds or still too small – so I decided to leave the moulds where they are until needed elsewhere. I had completely destroyed the siamese twin baby candidate mentioned a few weeks ago, trying to get it to fit into moulds – but noticed that another set of squash twins is growing in about the same place. These are not conjoined the same way – but I will keep my eye on them. I would be nice to have two babies growing from the same node.
Mary Catherine is on vacation this week and in her stead kw|ag’s Curatorial team has been tending the garden, with Curator Crystal Mowry and Registrar Cindy Wayvon watering, checking weather reports and otherwise supervising the slumbering children. The garden has taken the opportunity to make a break for it – up and out- which will require Mary Cantherine’s skillful hand when she returns on Monday.
I’ve been photographing the plants and subsequent children from the beginning of the project and have come to love arriving every morning to a sea of green and those calming faces. With the exhibition ending in October, there is only one more month in which to enjoy them before they are gone.
Judging from the number of people who visit the installation each day, from families to a young couple on their first date, I am not alone in my fascination.
~ Kirstie Paterson, kw|ag staff
sleeping baby, aug 26, 2010