Jan Kirsh Studio | 410.745.5252 | jankirshstudio@gmail.com www.jankirshstudio.com
Patience Required
Patience never goes out of style.

As I begin my 40th year designing gardens, there are still lessons to learn. The lesson of patience is a constant.

It's no surprise that making gardens is dependent on the weather. As we experience fallout from erratic, unseasonal and dramatic climate swings, patience is even more critical now.

I learned early on that I, nor my clients, suppliers or contractors were 'in charge' of the weather. No amount of fussing or complaining ever altered that reality.
Working as part of a crew, with a common goal is a gift,
especially when your vision sets the tone and steers the ship,
with your clients onboard, of course ;-)
Patience makes the journey smoother, more cohesive, more fun and ultimately more successful.

Learning to take a breath, slow the pace of progress to match the reality of circumstance, keeps the ship righted. No need to rock the boat and take on water. Bailing out a swamped vessel is not so grand an adventure.

Patience definitely pays off. When you look back and survey the results, you recognize the power in practicing patience.
Bocce Court - Example of Patience Required
The 60' long, brick edged bocce court, raked and ready
When the request was voiced, I was intrigued. "We love playing Bocce and want our own court".

This was a very welcome design-installation challenge:
  • First thing; do the homework and learn the requirements of a first class bocce court.
  • Great source of info was The Boccemon Site. Tom McNutt is the guru of bocce courts, he freely shared layers of good advice.
  • Next up, build a team: Excavation-Landscape-Masonry-Lighting- Engineering-Maintenance.
  • Conceptualize and collaborate with my client to scope out the site and decide on dimensions and location
  • Follow the rules! Zoning requirements play a part, especially for waterfront properties, so coordination with the county is a must.
  • Additional details to keep in mind: views when playing, the movement of the sun, which materials will favor the existing architecture, how to layer the materials? Keep the court level, level, level!
It looks simple enough on paper. However, there is more to it than meets the eye—including a hidden underground drainage system that ensures that the court surface dries instantly following rain.

So, we were getting ready to begin and there were weather interferences, too wet to have equipment on the lawn, waiting... waiting... WAITING for the permit to flow through the bureaucracy. Local wheels turning ever so slowly.

We were preparing to do the 'contractor shuffle', all dressed up and ready to go, yet still we waited.

Practice patience. Wait. The timing will be right soon.
The coolest, new technique - a lighting strip is hidden under the travertine paver cap to make the court glow in the evening.
And then finally, it was time, and we were making progress. Like an 18th century minuet, the contractors danced around each other as the work was accomplished. Court construction was underway and the end result was in view, ready for play. Thanks to my team for the excellent work!
The court ready for play. It was used almost immediately!
Grape Screen - Patience required in my own Garden
Close up of the Grape Screen triptych - weather proof plywood with super sturdy latex paint in a bold blue shade
The Grape Screen Redux

Ah, another exercise in patience.

There was the brilliant idea to segue the aluminum Grape Screen process into an experiment. SolidTops own digital genius, Brian Marine, cut an extra set of three panels in MDO (plywood with a resin coating) with the waterjet when the grape inspired art piece was fabricated for patient patrons in Annapolis, MD.

Then, more challenges; How to finish? How to support? How to install? It does take a village and the team was assembled.

  • Painters to prime and paint with an outdoor finish
  • Metal fabricator to build a sturdy frame
  • Architectural advisor to make sure we're thinking of all the details
  • Concrete contractor and installation team
The Aluminum Grape Screen provided inspiration
The new Grape Screen is leaning against my studio wall at the moment, but it will be installed early this spring. I have just the right spot in the entry garden.
The process was finally underway. A few starts and stops, a few delays and then cold weather arrived. Again, I had the project details organized, the collaborative team assembled. All I needed to add was... patience.

This piece adds bold color; it's "walk by" art on my country lane. It's a fun way to bringing a smile, and introduce the unexpected into a garden setting. This project is definitely more than just a way to provide pri·va·cy.
Winter Lighting - Carpe Diem
Now, I'm thinking about the need to 'act fast'. I'm not sure if this relates to my patience theme exactly, but this thought does have to do with time and timing, so maybe there is a relationship here.
An outdoor room can be inviting even
in the middle of a snowstorm.
Enhance the use of your evening landscape with low voltage night lighting.
Being mindful of insects night time schedules, we can add a subtle layer of visual interest - while being careful about pollinators schedules, including the night time activity of moths. An excellent discussion can be found in Doug Tallamy's book, Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.
Smart phones at the ready, working quickly to capture the light, great image quality is available with camera options so improved.

There's the need to jump to it and run outside when the light is right. The Eastern Shore has a plethora of landscape photographers and painters, as inspiration is frequent and abundant.
Well regarded watercolorist, Martha Hudson was an early friend here, on the Eastern Shore.
Her work inspired many
other painters.
It's all about the light, the light,
the light.
Hot pepper on a cold night
Careful lighting can extend the use of outdoor spaces in summer and bring the garden indoors during long winter nights.

Quick action might be needed to capture magical winter snow in Maryland. It doesn't snow here often, but that infrequency makes the effect even more special.

Don't delay. Run out and see the show. Act quickly. Pay attention. The natural daylight changes in moments, and we can enhance the nighttime carefully, thoughtfully. 
Avocado Bubbler takes up Residence at the
Library - back to Patience again
It was a bit of a process. Patience again was the word of the day. With no set deadline, I was grateful to gather yet another talented team, who all worked together, taking the time to thoughtfully complete the project and installation. With many hands helping, lots of consultation and plentiful advice, the Avocado bubbler took up residence at the Talbot County Free Library this fall.

This piece of art had a refreshing renewal. The 6' long Avocado Half sculpture anchors the West Street sidewalk; it's easily seen as you amble to the entry doors with an armload of books or drive by on your way to downtown Easton.
The improved color scheme was inspired by the real-life fruit, though the water filled bowl is bluer than reality and the sides are a glistening bronze - unlike any avocado seen at the grocery store or local bodega.
The Talbot County Garden Club planted pansies to dress up the new garden bed surrounding the Avocado. Thank you for the good work!
A little artistic license allowed for the water filled 'bowl' to reflect the sky on a sunny Eastern Shore day and for the outer 'bronze' shell to gleam in that same sunlight.
Thanks to writer Bill Peak, (known locally as 'the Library Guy'), for noticing the new piece on the library's lawn and for writing a thoughtful column for our local newspaper.
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Stay the course and keep your eye on the future. It's bound to help, no matter the task, if we work together with a good dose of patience at the ready.

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Jan Kirsh Studio | 410.745.5252 | jankirshstudio@gmail.com www.jankirshstudio.com