Stopping to Smell the Roses

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Sometimes it is difficult to write about gardening when you are chronically unwell or injured. After suffering my third serious fall in four months, I am in this position right now. Two of the falls occurred here at home, in my own garden, and the other happened when I was walking beside a river in the California Redwoods.
The most noble red Hollyhock at Al’s Garden Center in Gresham, OR.
I have been spending a lot of time reflecting and I won’t lie, it is kind of strange to realize I somehow ended up being more worried about my plants outside than for myself. My husband had to get back to the vineyard in California, and I was here on my own with a seriously sprained ankle, two sprained fingers on my right hand, and a wounded elbow.

After nine days, the two fingers on my right hand can still barely bend and my ankle is swollen but the bruising has gone away—mostly. I am so tired of all of this resting and waiting for things to heal or improve. My last fall, the one in California, gave me whiplash, and now this! I have spent weeks resting this spring and summer. I have not felt well and it is hard to see beauty sometimes when you don’t feel well. Pain and its management has to be your priority but deep inside I have felt so bad. It’s as if I’ve been ditching my best friend.

This past weekend my respite child was the garden girl. She’s the kind young woman who left a teddy bear on my bed too. I am supposed to care for him until she comes back in a few weeks, but I know she left him here to look after me.
She honestly did help me with my plants, and we fed them and she asked me lots of questions about how to do everything. It brought back so many memories of when I was a young girl.
Antirrhinum braun-blanquetii.
We ran some garden errands, but we took our time because of my foot. I have a “boot” for it, but that is no way to get around quickly.
We talked a bit about garden styles, and garden plants, but she has a hard time with categories beyond her own experience. We talked about that too. Sometimes it’s amazing when a mind opens a door to you and you are really able to help someone over a hurdle. I think for a time, she forgot her worries, and I forgot my own.
Mimulus cardinalis.

On the way home on Saturday, I pulled the car over to show her this stand of Fireweed. I told her how much I looked forward to its blooming every year. I am not sure she’s ever been in a car with anyone who stops to look at flowers beside the road. I am happy to have been that person for her.

Fireweed or Epilobium angustiolium.

After I dropped my visitor off with her full-time foster parent last night, I finally got around to cleaning up the porch. I finally planted this beautiful succulent but I am afraid I’ve misplaced its label. I know that it is hardy down to zone 9 and that its flowers are fragrant. The blooms are reminiscent of an ice plant, but the stems are very different. They look like chubby little dinosaur limbs. I must find the name soon so that when I collect its seeds I can label it properly.

Oscularia deltoides.

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