A fortnight well spent for father and son
PUT this one in the category of quiet pleasure, entirely the wrong speed if you are in roaring festive mood, but maybe just right for Boxing Day evening and beyond.
It is the tale of two men, garden designer Brendan Moar and his father, Jim, the former an Armidalereared city slicker, the latter a pillar of that New England tableland community, a Rotary member and a supporter of its newest thing, the Sustainable Living Expo.
Organisers want a centrepiece garden for when they stage the expo in the showground, so who’s Moar Sr going to call?
‘‘ I came at it from an oblique angle because I know he’s a busy man,’’ Jim Moar says.
‘‘ I was waiting for the call,’’ his son recalls with a twinkle in his eye at the start of the show.
And so begin two creations, the garden and the show about the garden, both starring the Moars.
Jim Moar confides he thought the most it would run to would be a few squares containing different coloured granites. ‘‘ Instead we’ve ended up with this turnout up here, which is not what I was talking about at all.’’
There are 14 days to build and plant the circular garden and the omens prove tricky when on day one it pours with rain. Cut to Brendan Moar, gloomy but philosophical.
Day two, the ground is soggy but manageable for the digging equipment, so work proceeds, albeit during the campdrafting club’s regular cattle round-up, also in the main show ring.
The key is to construct frames in the centre from which other elements will lead to the perimeter.
They include a dry stone riverbed and pond, stone lions, a vegetable
‘ I was waiting for the call’: Brendan Moar in patch, granite boulders, a wall and seat, as well as flowers.
‘‘ It will not be until it goes up that a lot of people will say, ‘ Ah, OK, I get it’,’’ Brendan Moar says. Certainly that is the case with Lee Engler, owner of New England Garden World, who freely admits he for one doesn’t get it, but lends $ 20,000 worth of spectacular plants anyway.
The pike and twist in this horticultural high dive is that all materials must be borrowed or donated, to fit in with the philosophy of sustainability, a requirement that sends Brendan Moar off to the local depot for rusty pipes, collars used to repair stormwater drains and curved steel plates from an old plough.
Personnel, all volunteers, include a builder, a welder and a stonemason, as well as gardeners.
‘‘ I hope in some way people will be able to relate to it,’’ Brendan Moar says on day 14, exhibiting pre-show nerves. It is never in doubt, of course: a good result, proud father, happy son.
Brendan’s Green Gift
For your post-Christmas viewing pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and Brad Pitt, pictured, is on to talk about fatherhood, how much he loves his wife and their 3000 children and, as this was taped the day after Barack Obama became the president-elect of the US ( November 5), how hopeful he is about America’s new dawn. Last but not least, Pitt talks about his experiences in the new movie
, about a man born ancient who gets younger instead of older and eventually turns into Pitt. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, who joins Pitt on Oprah’s couch. Naturally the rabid studio audience has had an advance screening and too many Red Bulls, by the sound of it.