Behold! An Artist’s Studio has Grown in the Garden


For the last month I’ve been working very hard to make this studio possible for a good friend of mine. Years ago when I first moved into this house I’d wanted this space very badly to be a writing studio. After I went through that phase, I’d hoped to clean it out and use it for my Etsy businesses, but like many things in life, it just didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped.

I can say now (with complete certainty) that cleaning out that space taught me a great deal about myself and my divorce. In each and every object I could see and feel a memory or two and I’d find myself taking mental steps backwards, revisiting these memories, going deeper into my former life, and this allowed me to review repeatedly both my own unhappiness and the many arguments which had occurred.
This was an incredible experience to say the least, and in a strange way, I’m very happy it took place.
Mona—the youngest of the 3 black cats—trying her hardest to remain as feral as possible until she can no longer take the wet cold. At that point she’ll move into the basement to remain toasty warm all winter.
The garage/studio is now free of all of those objects and I’m free of their bad memories. The process truly had me working through some intense emotions and for weeks I was physically exhausted by that process. I’m finished with that for now—except for some ongoing trash removal—but otherwise, I’ve found a great deal of closure.

Begonia hemsleyana from Cistus Nursery.

For the first time in months, I finally feel like I’m getting closer to my new life and this is an exciting time for me. I’ve turned the corner and have finally moved past the chaos and am back outside again in the garden.

Rhododendron sinogrande amongst little friends.
I enter there and find that my garden sanctuary is now covered in mysterious autumn mists with a sprinkling of yellow and red leaves that are lifted and spun around by the crisp, sharp winds that punctuate the rays of tilted October sunbeams.

.Aspidistra elatior.

Often these brisk breezes take me completely by surprise—especially when I am somewhere in the shade.

Great creeping Coleus that I hope to overwinter indoors as a houseplant. Why not!

It has always amazed me how differently I feel about the shade at this time of the year. Whereas it was my friend just a few weeks ago, now it’s become the dark alley I don’t want to be caught in for fear of some unknown impending danger. (OK, for me that might just be some foot cramps and purple fingers but those can be at least a tiny bit irritating.)

Hardy Cylamen.

During the last few weeks of summer I allowed myself to fully enjoy my back garden with many friends—both new and old. I’d never done this before and will always remember the late night conversations drinking wine beneath the stars. Like many other gardeners I’d made the space to be lived in, to be enjoyed, to laugh in, and to grow in—that finally happened for me, so now, as I move on (and possibly away from here), I can do so knowing I grew in this place.

That is what is important to me. I grew. They grew. My friends and I all grew together. It may take a village to raise a child, but I think that growing together as a group of individuals makes something much more vibrant and alive—much like a natural ecosystem. We all have our part to play and are necessary to one another.
I grew as a woman and as a person in my garden this year and it’s thanks to the plants I planted which supported us all as people searching out in the dark for meaning and substance.


Soon I will be posting more about the houseplants as they move indoors again.

As always, I’m returning more and more to my peacock sense of fashion.

Virginia Creeper, (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

And this peacock gardener is enjoying the riot of autumn colors before they’re gone. Sure, not everyone is a huge fan of Virginia Creeper but it does provide the most amazing fireworks-like finale in the garden.

I often sit out in the cold now with the little cat and she takes it all in with me.

The hummingbirds talk to us, and I am happy to have them since they also look at me through the back window in my music/plant/writing room on the mornings when I sit down to write.

More on my own creative indoor studio next time…

(And yes, more to come on indoor plant labor-i-tories soon!)

10 thoughts on “Behold! An Artist’s Studio has Grown in the Garden

  1. It's great to sea you're managing to put yourself back together after what seems to have been a really rough time. And drinking wine under the stars in the company of friends really sounds like a great way to rekindle your love of the garden; gardens are living spaces, and they always appear their best when filled with good company.


  2. You've been busy. Happy photos of your new space and garden. Lovely photo of you too. I think Virginia Creeper is beautiful but do not have space to let it get established here. I had a volunteer one year and made sure to remove it. Sigh. If only I had a big stone wall….


  3. Søren, yes!, it has been a trying time for me and it's such a relief to be moving on now. I cannot tell you what a fantastic feeling it is. I'm still not sure what's going to happen next but at least the anxiety of it all has gone away.

    I've also been able to rekindle many of my dreams and am moving forward as a more fully integrated woman and gardener.

    La vita é bella!


  4. Yes, there is a sparkle of happiness Diana. I've had a lot of laughs during the last few months and one friend has really gone out of his way to make me smile and laugh. I appreciate those friends a lot who've been through divorce before since they truly knew how to help me. Laughing is incredible medicine.


  5. Yes, I have been busy but mostly cleaning and thank you for noticing the picture I took of myself. My curious sense of fashion kind of warranted it.

    Virginia Creeper does need a lot of space. I think along a stone wall it would be quite beautiful too.


  6. Thank you Ricki for noticing! I've spent most of my adult life wanting to be a “real” writer and am working on that now. Luckily, I finally feel as though I'm well enough to play on the page again and I am full of the confidence I need too.

    I am currently planning to play with words for many more years to come.

    Oh to live the life, one's life, the way one should…


  7. I love the philosophical musing you've done here, Ann. Big changes often require a good deal of introspection, and although you're no stranger to that, I think I detect some clarity and closure I didn't hear before. This was a lovely read.


  8. Oh thank you for noticing my philosophical musings! I love philosophy so much and I'm happy to add more of it here since I think that garden writing can benefit greatly from its inclusion from time to time.

    Yes, big changes have been doing a lot to me internally. This is true and it's been a really difficult process for me. I wish that it was already over but I still have some distance to cover. I think I've learned a lot about my own process though and this will become easier as I continue to put one foot in front of the other.


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