As part of paying the bills in my professional career, I photographed a number of significant gardens. I helped create several pretty amazing ones as well. Some of these pictures have been published in various books, but most have never been seen. In this blog, I will show you all my best garden images AND discuss garden design.
Friday, July 21, 2017
My Life in the Garden of Eden, #55:
Garden, #55: Using the Hippeastrum lilies to create a “natural” retaining wall for the paths on hillside of my former home in west Los Angeles was a stroke of unintentional genius (AND it saved a LOT of money). The huge bulbs of the lilies completely eliminated the incentive of the chip path to slip downhill, and as the new leaves / new bulbs grew, the “wall” became ever more dense. Deep layers of chip stayed in place, killing off weeds and the remaining invasive plants that might have grown through, and as the chip deteriorated organically, it created soil conditions in which the lilies thrived. Even with limited watering, the lilies seemed to survive the VERY hot summers on west-facing slopes with virtually no shade, and in the winter, when viewed from the house, they were so lush, green, and uniform in height they had the appearance of a hedge. Along about Easter, however, the lily “hedge” was an entirely different show. Not your average retaining wall !!! AND they make great cut flowers in the house (as you see, we had enough to use in that way - LOL).
Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different. ~Robert Glenn Ketchum
Friday, July 21, 2017
The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #55:
Daze, #55: There are two good ski photographers that I know, who live and work in the Sun Valley area, Steve Marks and Bill Rousey. My friend, Gary Brettnacher, who photographs a lot of the Utah resorts, comes here occasionally as well. I tell David Moe I am interested in contributing to the start-up ski magazine, POWDER, that he and his bother, Jake, are trying to create, but given all the photographers I just mentioned who would cover the “normal” ski stories, I suggest to him that the DFC&FC and I could do “backcountry” stories for the magazine, and show other unusual places you might not think to ski. Of course, such stories involve some downhill skiing, but these types of stories are NOT about downhill skiing, and NO OTHER MAGAZINES EVER COVER these kinds of stories. David does not think we can do it in every issues, but he agrees to try my idea out. Simultaneously, all of this energy around my work has been supported in part by Tom Curran of Sun Valley Realty, who has used my 4-season imagery to decorate his VERY public offices. Not long after meeting David Moe and starting my relationship with POWDER, Tom asks me if I would like to work at another resort he hopes to develop like Sun Valley. It is located in Whitefish, Montana, and called Big Mountain. It overlooks Whitefish Lake, the Flathead Valley, and the Bitteroot Range, and is adjacent Glacier National Park. On the backside of Big Mountain is an area known in the winter as “The Fantasy Forest.” Those are my tracks moving through that forest (above) and you are looking towards the Bitteroots and Glacier. When Tom offers me this opportunity, it not only provides material for POWDER magazine, it gives me the chance to explore Glacier National Park. Once again, “Suggestions to travel are dancing lessons from God."
Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
The Yakutat Forelands are where the Tongass rainforest and the Chugach forest to the north meet. It is also home to many large glaciers, a stunning coastline, the huge Alsek-Tatshenshini river, and Icy Bay, which sits at the foot of Mount St. Elias, the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. There is a lot of powerful energy out here.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias, #28:
The Yakutat Forelands, #28: The angle of the setting sun at this ridiculous hour of the night (probably around 11pm) is causing the fall-colored forelands, radiate with a golden glow. I can also see what our pilot, Mike Ivers, meant when he called this a ”moose hunter’s knoll.” From this vantage point, and with clear weather such as we are starting to have, you can view quite a vast expanse of the forelands, and you certainly would notice anything moving around. Immediately below our knoll is an especially “attractive” area for moose because there is a lot of browse and numerous kettle ponds for water and wading. The three of us fall silent (except for the click of my shutter), as the rich tones seem to intensify with every minute the sun drops lower on the horizon. I suspect Mark and Carey are also trying to wrap their minds around all of the things that have happened to us during this amazing day. I certainly am.
In 1993, I began traveling to the Arctic. I have been across The Northwest Passage by yacht; to the North Pole twice; to little-visited Russian islands; and aboard research vessels in Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Baffin Island, taking the opportunity to visit Iqualuit, the capital of Nunavut, the recently created Inuit nation and territories.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
ARCTIC: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #49:
ARCTIC, #49: We reach Cambridge Bay a little after midnight and the sun has just set. Staff goes ashore to perform various tasks, but John Bockstoce considers it a necessary pilgrimage to visit the remains of Roald Amundsen’s exploratory boat, “Maud,” so he, Bill Simon, and most of the other guests gear up for a late night Zodiac ride across Cambridge Bay to the inlet where the ruins lie half-sunken, but well preserved in the cold, Arctic water. Considering the hour, we are all in quite a good mood because we have been dining and drinking all night waiting to do this (kids who may be reading this should not consider this appropriate behavior to then go for a midnight ride in a Zodiac), thus, concerned about someone falling in, staff insists we all wear thermal suits - the night is cold and the water even colder. It is also very beautiful. Here Dr. Robert Leach and my cabin-mate and good friend, George Gowan, are having entirely too much fun. “Maud” is a weathered shipwreck, aground in shallow water at the end of an inlet. She is approachable, and also quite beautiful in the glow of the twilight. We try to take pictures of her, and each other standing on her, but most of the cheapy camera flashes do not carry far into the dark, so you really can not see the greater wreck. I have no flash either, other than one similar to theirs, so we do not get our “selfies” on “Maud,” but we do wake up some Inuit who do not like to sleep in the village during the summer months, so they camp out here. They are pretty sure we are just those crazy rich guys that showed up in the big boat lit like a Christmas tree, now anchored in the harbor.
THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #47:
THE TONGASS, #47: Finally the massive clearcuts along the eastern shore of Baranof Island abate as we continue to navigate “Observer” south. Michael McIntosh, the owner of the boat, and a founder of NRDC, has been talking to me about the tax-subsidized logging that is ongoing in this forest, and the impact the “harvest” is having on the greater habitat. He points out that we are about to encounter a very “special” bay that has not yet been targeted by the cut. It is called Gut Bay, and our approach to it is rather sudden and not all that obvious. Unlike other river valleys I have seen on this cruise, there is no broad delta here supporting river braids that meander around tidal meadows. This is a fjord. The entrance is a gash in a steep, tree-covered shoreline, and the passage “in” seems very narrow. As soon as we enter the fjord, sheer rock walls plunge down to the water, and they support some trees, but barely. As we progress, the entrance broadens into a large bay, being fed by numerous surrounding waterfalls and inflowing streams/rivers, and the forest is virgin old growth. I have a sense of it being VERY primal, like in this deep forest pocket, somehow we have stepped back in time.
Thank you to the EPA for recognizing the value of the Bristol Bay fishery. NOW, what can we do to protect this habitat further? Mission: To protect the national parks and national refuges of southwest Alaska, and the Bristol Bay fishery from the development of the Pebble mine, and other commercial risks.