Bob Schwartz

Category: Gardening

Red Flower

Red Flower

The red flower cannot help it
not the orange or yellow
being there for bee or bird
or me just as they are


Miniature Rakes: New Symbol of the Resistance and Resurgence…and So Zen

Our story so far: Visiting the site of the California fires, Trump—graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Forest Management—told officials that the disaster could have been prevented if they “raked the forest floor.” He said he heard this from the Prime Minister of Finland, who replied that he had never told Trump any such thing.

This led to global reaction, including the clever hashtag #RakeAmericaGreatAgain, along with lots of creative images of people with rakes.

Rakes are more than a tool to clean up lawns, or if you are Trump, to prevent forest fires. They are used in Zen gardens to mindfully tend to a blank slate of sand.

Many of us have or have had rakes as items in our landscape tool shed. But displaying a full-size rake inside your home or on your desk is awkward—as is giving a rake as a gift or sending a rake to sympathetic or unsympathetic public servants.

That is where miniature rakes come in. These tiny rakes are not just available as a children’s toy. They are also available to help those who maintain tabletop Zen sand gardens. Best of all, they are inexpensive, as little as $2 apiece.

So buy and display a miniature rake. Put it on your table or desk. Send it as a gift. Rakes may not prevent forest fires, but they are symbols of cleaning up and bringing creative order and design to chaos. All in your hands.

Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower ©

Cactus Flower

The rare rains have come and gone.
Only in the first hours of the dry sun day
splendid petals unfold then hide.
Catch them capture them
with words brush or camera?
We are as arrogant and grateful
as they are beautiful.


Organ Pipe Flowers ©

Political Parties: Big Corporate Landscaping Companies vs Caring Gardeners

Front Yard

People deal differently with the gardens and landscaping around their houses.

Sometimes people tend the garden themselves.

Sometimes people hire big corporate landscaping companies to care for the garden, who then send out service people to make sure it is okay. The company is primarily interested in keeping you as one of their thousands of customers, and if it’s okay with you, it’s okay with them, and there is no problem.

Sometimes people hire just a single caring gardener, a craftsmen who may have come with the property, who has tended the same garden for years, and treats it as his own. As yours and his. Because, really, it is.

We’ve entrusted our political garden to two very big parties. It appears that many have now looked out the window or stepped out on the front porch, seen the sorry shape the garden is in, and said: Oh. My. God.

Consider this in the current political climate. It may be that a big corporate landscaping company can do a good job. But maybe you should consider some caring gardeners, who really will treat the garden as their own. As yours and theirs. Because, really, it is.