My garden is exceptionally difficult to photograph—at least in its totality. From the front steps of my porch, I can see the whole thing. Life moves through the garden. Cars pass by and the drivers crane their heads for a glance. The neighbors walk by with their dogs. Birds fly in, alight on something, and fly off. Squirrels, the fuckers, mostly come when I am not around. They come and they dig. I hate them. I'm in a constant battle against them. I have a pile of walnut shells on my porch. If I spot a walnut seedling in the garden, I dig it up before the squirrels can. I wouldn't have any problem with the squirrels, but sometimes they disturb seedlings when they dig, and I cannot tolerate that. Anyway, the garden is more than a collection of plants; it's also the gardener's awareness of what's going on in the garden, what it has been before and what it will be in the future. It's not static—thank god—and it exists in the mind and in memory, two things that are difficult to photograph.
I would also add that the garden exists in my emotional life. Private moments and moments with friends—there are so many of both: it's not worth estimating the number of beers I've enjoyed alone or with friends while viewing this garden. With some conversations, the garden becomes a backdrop; with others it becomes the subject of the conversation. I'm always happy to talk about its history and its future. More likely, though, I'll talk about what's bothering me, the things I must contend with: uncooperative weather, animals, pests. My garden is right out on the street, but no human has ever messed with it. A guy wearing all camouflage did sort of kick some chamomile with his boot the other day, but it wasn't an act of violence. He was just fidgety and he needed to touch something.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago I was talking to my dad on the phone and he asked for some pictures of the garden—as a boy I always admired how beautiful his garden was—and so these pictures are mostly for him. In another few days the sage will be in full bloom. In a month, everything will be different.