A Garden with Purpose, Reason and Rhyme
Welcome to an ongoing film project documenting the comings and goings of a low water maintenance garden in the heart of urban suburbia. This is a story of the flora and fauna that come to this garden for sanctuary and subsistence. Cameras and audio
recording equipment are setup throughout the small back yard and are capturing a big story: survival, migration and acceptance.

The garden has its dramatic moments
Three blooms at the same time off the same stalk.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
One cactus spire produced three elegant blooms at the same time.

Garden details are worlds within themselves
Brick pathways provide canyons for leaf litter to fall and decompose.
Brick patterns and voids create canyon worlds for plant litter.

Mockingbirds provide sonic depth to a neighborhood
Mockingbirds spend spring, summer and fall in the garden.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
Mockingbirds have as many as 240 distinct phrases that they can recite.

Audio MP3
Young Mocking Bird song 3:37

To see more Mockingbirds

24 hours in the bloom of the queen of the night
The Queen of the Night blooms only in the night for one day.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
When the flower explodes open a sweet fragrance fills the night.

From spectacular flower to colorful fruit
The Queen of the Night flower falls off and a fruit begins to take shape.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson
From what was a flower begins a long journey to be a fruit.

Big Drama in the front yard
Start to a blooming century plant in the front yard. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The century plant is starting to bloom. April 12, 2012 and we are there.
I look forward to documenting the entire process.

An amazing photo subject just outside the front door century plant's emerging flower stalk and detail of the stalk at the base.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.
The sheer mass and detail will provide continuous film opportunities. We will
follow this developing chapter in another amazing urban garden saga.
This story ended up being told in four chapters:
1. Grow… 2. Bloom… 3. Decay… 4. Fall

Not all is peaceful in the garden
A House Finch pair built a nest and one day a cat caught the female eating off the ground.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
Life and death is a continuing sub-plot in Anders’ garden film.

cats featured in the 8611 movie project by Anders Tomlinson, Serra Mesa, Ca.

To see more Cats

Out in the front street the movie carries on
Crows work with a plastic container in the street outside the garden.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The big birds of the neighborhoods are the crows, the witty crafty crows.

Bees help the world go round.
Three bees collect pollen from the Queen of the Night bloom.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The bloom opens up. the bees come, and within hours the bloom closes.

Video of bees and a cactus bloom

And the world goes round and round with the help of all things great and small.
The Queen of the Night cactus bloom opens up and it’s sweet fragrance fills
the night. With the light of morning bees arrive. At times it is but one.
Here is a moment where a small gang of bees busily gather pollen. By late
afternoon the flower will close and the bloom is over. Music by SonicAtomics.

This is the dove’s first day out of the nest.
baby dove out of the nest for the first time, san diego, ca.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
A pair of young doves, less than two-years-old, now have two live chicks
in their second nesting attempt using a decorative ceramic pot placed on
an exterior chimney ledge under the patio. The female sat here quietly for
weeks while the male perched in a nearby tree, or on back-alley telephone
wires, always with a view of the nest. In the late fall of the previous year
the immature mother abandoned her nest leaving a dead chick and an
unhatched egg left inside. I took the pot off the ledge and put it
on the ground to photograph in the sun. Minutes later, when I returned
with a camera, both the dead chick and egg were gone.

Halloween early morning visitor
Opossum in Serra Mesa, Ca. photo by Anders Tomlinson. 10-31-16.
After the first cold night an Opossum soaks in morning sunshine.
To see more Opossum

A good rule for a low-water garden is plant what grows well on its own
View of garden from the west looking east. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
View of the garden looking from the west to the east, all is good.

Another day, another cycle in the life of the garden
Multiple views looking at the garden's layout.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
A low-water garden benefits from elements that to not need watering.

Butterflies spend the sunny afternoon with the colorful lantana
A Buttery flutters from lantana flower to lantana flower.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The blooming lantana, a durable, sturdy plant, attract fluttering butterflies.

A visitor perches a the brilliant bottle bush
An unidentified bird pauses on bottle bush while feeding.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The bottle bush attracts a wide variety of bugs, birds and cats.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Pidgeon dies in yard and documentation begins on what happens to the body, san diego, ca.  photos by anders tomlinson
This pidgeon appears to have died and fallen from the telephone wires about.
There were no signs of trauma on the body. The image on the right is after
three days on the ground. The first to begin dismantling the body were ants
going for the pidgeon’s eyes.

Eight days later all that is left are feathers.
Pidgeon dies in yard and documentation begins on what happens to the body.  this photo is after eight days have passed. san diego, ca. photos by anders tomlinson
The pigeon became a daily photo study of what would happen to the body.
Ants, flies, crows, possum, skunks and others found food as the body
disappeared and scattered over the days. I found this indicated the
garden was a living system where flora and fauna that took care of their own.

Patterns of man and nature come together in the garden
What needs watering uses water captured in the sinks with plastic coffee cans.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
Water captured in household sinks with plastic coffee cans services late summer needs.

a Spider and its shadow.
Spider is busy in a backyard agave, san diego, ca. photo by anders tomlinson.
Waiting, waiting, waiting and then the shadow will move.

The wait is rewarded with captured prey.
Spider in backyard agave has food to eat, san diego, ca.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
The wait is rewarded with food in a wrapped cocoon. See more spider action

To see more Spiders

Time to leave the yard, cross the street, and visit another yard
A snail makes its way across brick and concrete in the font yard.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.
All in a day, we each have our journeys that take us where we go.

more cactus pags graphic

Meet the Cactus

Organ Pipe cactus bloom

Bees visit cactus flowers

Peruvian Apple cactus bloom

Sweet Tasting Cactus Apples

Twin Pipe Organ Cactus Flowers


Century Plant Flowers

©2012-2015 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.