Articles from August 2009



Finding the Middle of the World

“MESOGEO”… Meso-geo, middle earth, middle of the world. How did that idea ever come to us?

Let’s see:  Just now I’m sitting on our front porch at day’s end, surrounded by brugmansias, lilies, colocasias, clivias, and a straying finger of jasmine, reaching out for my pen to write its own remembrances. The music of Manos Hadjidakis wraps me in Greek reveries as I sip wine from Australia, while eating feta-like cheese from Bulgaria and olives from Sicily. Right here, right now is the middle of the world. And our gardens, upon which I gaze and through which I will soon wander, are the environs of this world. But this is old song…

Every gardener knows that their garden is the middle of the world. Its light shines through our every breath, our every doing, like a quiet sun within the earth and we are illuminated. Again, how did we come to this way of thinking about ourselves? Years back I began visiting Greece. first as a sort of pilgrimage that students do, and later as a place in which I wished to live. When Terri and I married, we took our honeymoon in a tiny mountain village of Crete, gathering olives with friends. WIthin the year we returned to restore an ancient stone house which I had bought years before. Though we shared a love for Greek culture – music, language, food, our impulse to become villagers flagged as we ran up against the problems of rebuilding the house. Soon we were driving around the whole island in late winter, visiting Minoan sites and photographing people and wild landscape – a wildness that was still being tamed after 5,000 years of settlement.

The photos here are the treasure with which we returned in the spring. We also brought back the plan for a book that would fuse our ideas of the Mediterranean with our experience of gardening in the Pacific Northwest. This blog is a window onto the gardens we visited and photographed, the stories and people we encountered, the feasts and lunches we consumed as we rambled through 5 countries around the Mediterranean Basin, returning to build our gardens and nursery here on Bainbridge Island. The entries are testimony and praise to the wonders of Mediterranean gardens and their unexpected connections to the gardens of our Northwest home.

The middle of the world is wherever you are in your own garden.

Terry Moyemont at the archaeologist's table in Falasarna, Crete.

Terry Moyemont at the archaeologist's table in Falasarna, Crete.

Path to Old Minoan port, Falasarna, Crete

Path to Old Minoan port, Falasarna, Crete

The rocky rim of the Falasarna beaches.

The rocky rim of the Falasarna beaches.

Terri Stanley studies the archaic landscape at Falasarna.

Terri Stanley studies the archaic landscape at Falasarna.