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In Retrospect

September 17, 2013


It was a simpler time, 2009 … we had only just finished installing the last of our garden’s hardscaping and things were not only simpler, they were cleaner, more tranquil and wide open (literally and figuratively). As demonstrated by the photo above, the sky seemed to be the limit …

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Taking in the bird’s eye view of the ’09 backyard, it looks nice; also controlled, interesting. I recall feeling I wanted more — plants, containers, rocks, decorative items, more stuff! So, over the next few years I spent lots of time and money gathering all of those things and more. All along spending much time stacking, arranging and moving those things around and around, until 2011 when we ended up on our local garden tour. But once that moment of notoriety had passed a restlessness set in and I wanted new again. I decided everything had to go. Sales ensued, stuff was got rid of and I began to bandy about ideas for a new scheme … Then, as regular readers know, my health issues made themselves known and everything stalled, all plans eventually coming to a halt. Now here we are, it’s almost the end of 2013 and I’m still trying to get to that place where I can truly start over.

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Shipping out

Yes, I’m still trying to get rid of things even now, still trying to roll back to zero. These large concrete containers, for instance, came to us in ’09 (you can see them in the previous photo) and it was strange to see them packed onto a trailer the other day, leaving us for good. They’d occupied different spots in our backyard for 4-plus years and housed various large succulents and other plants; they were fixtures. The loaded trailer was left in our driveway until the next day and from the house I could see our plants peering over the fence from the wrong side and I felt a pang; I mean where were they going next? The next day I realized I’d moved on when I found myself relishing the now-open spaces the containers used to occupy. I’m ashamed admitting that there’s still plenty of things that need to go, but I swear I’m making headway finally. Things — heavy things — have been given away and some have already gone, while others are just awaiting their tow-away; still others can be found at Vintique Alley, here in Riverside, a perfect venue for my overflow. How is it that I have yet more things if I’ve been actively divesting for years now? All I can say is: Once a hunter-gatherer, always one … and, I’m better but not perfect. And what of my new scheme, my plan for a new garden? It’s in my head. But it feels a lot like 2009.

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3758 Elizabeth Street, Riverside CA 92506; 951 . 784 . 4005  Sunday: 12pm – 5pm; Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm; Monday: Closed  •

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2013 5:50 am

    I totally get it. I’m in the same “letting go” mode. Clearing out, paring down, moving on. Just finished a complete interior home “cleanse”…worked my way through every room. Touched all of our belongings. Asked myself “Is it beautiful? Is it useful?” Made some hard decisions but am feeling so so good having done so. Good luck as you divest and transition. It’s good for the soul! 🙂

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 17, 2013 3:56 pm

      I appreciate your comment, Lori, and I know you’re right! Here’s how bad I am: While reading that you were purging all I could think was, “I wonder if she’s getting rid of anything I want?!” 😉

  2. September 17, 2013 1:51 pm

    We humans are strange creatures…..I LOVED your garden when Danny and I were at your home (and that was when you were deep into selling off your treasures) but I absolutely understand the itch to move things about….How you can part with so much is beyond me but I do admire the ability you have to do it. I seem to have been weeding out for years and still have just as much stuff……..IT’S BECAUSE OF THAT FABULOUS SALE I WENT TO LAST WEEK……..great books for a buck……..had to have 50 of them…..and so the story goes……….Your talent is so great I only mourn for the creations lost….I know they are in the mind forever…..but how about hiring out so some would be saved…….maybe you’ve thought of that… the meantime….I of course am yearning to see yet more of your art. XO

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 17, 2013 4:03 pm

      Wow, Guida, thanks for such a great commment. We humans are strange, I’m definitely proof of that statement … tracking down these old pictures I could only marvel at all I have given away, sold, whatever. Thank God for photography! By documenting all I’ve had — and done — it’s with me forever.

  3. September 17, 2013 4:08 pm

    As I read your words I found myself wondering if/when I would be going down this same road. The time is growing near when I must begin the annual migration of containers from their summer home on the patio to covered and interior locations for the winter. I am not looking forward to it. How long will I keep up this insanity?

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 17, 2013 4:17 pm

      Hi, Loree, whenever you’ve mentioned your container migration I’ve marveled at your dedication … I don’t think you’ll be stopping any time soon, though, you love those plants too much!

  4. Cherie korer permalink
    September 17, 2013 9:40 pm

    I totally don’t get it but then I’m not an artist. I love all your creations and wish you would create something on my property in Scottsdale. Guaranteed it would stay for my lifetime. Paul did a quicky redo on my atrium in the middle of the house and it too will stay as is. Take care, bros!! You’re amazing!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 17, 2013 9:44 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Cher, maybe someday when traveling by gurney isn’t a hassle I’ll put something together for you! 😉

  5. Vickie Perez permalink
    September 18, 2013 4:05 am

    Do understand the process of change in our gardens. What fun it can be. And I do understand not changing. I have areas that change and others that don’t. And with Tom always dragging home more “yard art”. But it’s fun and keeps me entertained. And sometimes I can sell something.
    With folks like you to give inspiration, who knows where we can take our home enviroments.

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 18, 2013 4:15 am

      Hey, Vickie, there’s a fine line between inspiration and enabling where I’m concerned! The important thing, as you point out, is to see it as entertainment … also amusement! 😉

  6. September 27, 2013 6:05 pm

    Even famous painters would sometimes paint over an existing canvas. The truth is, Reuben, your creativity knows no BOUNDS, so you can’t stand it when a garden space is no longer a project. It will either kill you or keep you young!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      September 27, 2013 10:22 pm

      I’m workin’ on it, JR, I’m just hoping I land on the young side, again!

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