Showing posts from August, 2009

Mill Creek Canyon Moose

I began my ascent in Mill Creek Canyon. Anyone who has ever suffered from altitude sickness will understand that the sensible way to arrive at our destination in Utah (altitude 8,300 ft.), was to ascend the Wasatch Mountains a little at a time. I’d never gotten sick in Salt Lake City (altitude 4,300 ft.), so we spent a day there. Next day, we bought our lunch and drove about half way up Mill Creek Canyon to eat in a picnic area. Higher and higher we climbed, cautiously pulling off and taking in the view whenever I felt a little “funny.” It was hard to say whether this was caused by actual altitude problems or anticipatory anxiety, until I got “something like a headache,” but that, too passed. At the 7,000-foot pull-off there were a lot of cars in the parking lot and a sign that said Congested Area Ahead. It turned out that the “top” was just a short distance further on, at 7,600 feet. Guess what the magic number is? Nothing I had read about altitude sickness told me I would tempor

Red Butte Utah Fragrance Garden

We’re just back from a trip to Utah, where we visited the Red Butte Botanical Garden on the campus of the University of Utah . While there were many interesting things to see there, my favorite was the Fragrance Garden. Here, you’ll find enormous plants of lavender combined with flowering tobacco and a variety of other annuals and perennials. But it’s the lavender that’s the star of the show. Single plants, all perfectly shaped, were the size of my entire Lavender Garden. While I admit to seething with envy, I did manage to recall that we had just passed Red Butte’s army of gardeners manicuring the herb garden. Besides, this one garden room was larger than my entire front yard. I think the lesson here is that public gardens and the gardens of large estates are great for collecting ideas. After all, they’ve been planned and designed by the best landscape architects. But we can’t slavishly imitate them when we get home. The scale has to be translated fr

Custom Gates

The two gates shown here were hand- crafted: One, a traditional bronze, oriental-style marsh scene with a crane; the other, a contemporary abstract rendered in a variety of metals. Of course, custom gates can be made of wood or other materials, as well. Most custom gates are works of art in their own right, but they are functional art and must be able to withstand the rigors not only of the weather, but also of constantly opening and closing. Perhaps the pre-eminent metal artist of the 20th century was Philadelphia’s Samuel Yellin, whose work graces Bok Tower, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and other universities, St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York, and many government, public, and private buildings. You can see some of his gates here . Today the forge operates under the direction of his granddaughter, Clare. For those with more modest purses, make a sketch of your idea and look for an iron-welding or other metalworks firm. Un