Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

October into November

November 21, 2016

‘I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ – John Keats


I don’t have much to say about these autumn photos of my garden. The rising light of morning and the lowering light of evening create a palpable atmosphere. Better silence, after these few words.


(For the record, I should note this isn’t a single mass planting. There are many intersecting paths, ponds, seating areas, and possibilities for encounter down there.)






























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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Saurs November 21, 2016 at 9:33 pm

I would happily buy a print of each of these. Thank you.


James Golden November 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

And thank you.


Paul Steer November 22, 2016 at 2:37 am

Magnificent …. What riches, precious treasures.


James Golden November 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Paul, I’m gratified that you like the garden.


Joe Valentine November 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Some lovely photos there, James!


James Golden November 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Thanks, Joe. Unfortunately, since I caught the Instagram habit, I find myself taking all these photos with my iPhone instead of my good cameras. I’ll come to regret that, I think. A little retraining is in order.


kjeld November 23, 2016 at 7:57 am

I´ll promise to keep my Mouth shot, if I´d had the oportunity to se your garden IRL.
have a nice Winther.



kjeld November 23, 2016 at 8:07 am

how about taking the Photos with your best camera, upload them on your computer, and send them to your iphone……….. to instagram!?



James Golden November 23, 2016 at 8:40 am

Kjeld, I always enjoy hearing from you. Thank you for the advice. I haven’t tried that because my image files are usually 10-20 MB in size, but I’ll give it a try. I certainly need high-res images for future projects. You have a good winter too.


Maude Odgers November 23, 2016 at 9:14 am

I still love your garden, perhaps most of all, in the fall. The emotion it evokes is hard to describe. Right now the word “calming” comes to mind. My heptacodium tree had similar red blossoms which I didn’t remember being this red or as striking in other years. I see yours were the same. The warmth and beauty in these photos is undeniable and solicits a sense of peace. Thank you for sharing this beauty with us.


James Golden November 23, 2016 at 9:42 am

Thank you, Maude. I find it very difficult to name emotions. I was concerned about using the word “palpable” because of its medical meaning but I discovered it was right on point: “When something is palpable, you can touch or handle it, even though the word is often used to describe things that usually can’t be handled or touched, such as emotions or sensations.” I think the emotions evoked can be understood somewhat in the way Keats meant by the term “negative capability,” leaving “space” for emotion to be understood as a creative, individual, spontaneous process–perhaps unnamed.


Maude Odgers December 14, 2016 at 8:20 am

I think you are right. There really is no reason to name them. What’s important is that emotion is felt, beauty is seen. I appreciate hearing what Keats meant by “negative capability.” Leaving space and it is indeed a “creative, individual, spontaneous process.” Your garden, and your photographs are moving and I’m grateful for the feelings they evoke, regardless of the name, as the name and the feelings always change. It’s a gift. Thank you for that.


James Golden December 15, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Thank you, Maude. I’m quite fond of Keat’s concept of negative capability, but I do wish there were a less abstruse name. The concept is a wonderful one. I see it as related to Whitman’s lines, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”


Zem November 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

The atmosphere in your autumn-garden is very special.
I love the photos, ánd the words of Keats!
Many greetings from Zem.


James Golden November 25, 2016 at 11:44 am

Thanks, Zem. Have a good winter in Nederland.


Eric S November 26, 2016 at 6:08 pm

I find myself drawn to two images with decidedly different energy: The first, rust red spires (Cotinus coggygria?) against the vivid blue sky seems to evoke strident power, perhaps urgency. The other was your final image – languid resignation to impending darkness.


James Golden November 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Hello, Eric. I think we met slightly over a year ago. Thanks for the comment. You obviously get what I hope to do in the garden.


Eric S December 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Yes. But it was just this past July, a Hardy Plant Society tour that introduced me to you and Federal Twist. Your garden had me hyper-stimulated as your blog posts continue to do.


James Golden December 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Thanks, Eric. You’ll have to come back for a visit when the garden returns.


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