The Week After the Open Garden

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On Thursday I waited until bedtime to write, and then I did the same on Friday. It’s called procrastination, but it’s also called self-care.

It’s been a long week. As many of you know, it’s continued to be cold and wet in the PNW and in addition to the long hours of gardening, and working, I’m recovering. My osteoarthritis is aching, I’m dealing with swelling, and in general I’m pretty tired.

Lathyrus aureus was the most asked about plant in the garden last weekend.

Until you’ve opened up your home to the public, it’s easy to think it’s no big deal. But it is! It’s scary. Yes, you’re opening yourself up for a lot of fun. Random sweet strangers may become friends. You’re going to laugh and chat a lot because you’ll be so tired—but by then you won’t care!

More than anything though, you’re going to worry about the jerks. There will be a few. They’re always there, like weeds. You’ll never be rid of them.

Viola corsica was my favorite plant in the garden this week.

Just know that you don’t need to go through life like them. If you need to visit gardens or judge others to gain some kind of self-esteem, that’s rough. “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” is all I can say to that. Life is short and precious.

Sure, not all gardens are for me, yet I always appreciate the time and energy it takes to open one for nearly nothing in return. It takes a lot of work, and in the end, you’ll have a guest like I did who appeared just before I closed the gate, describing and seeing my garden exactly as it is to me.

She and her young guest were a gift that cold wet day. Be that garden guest.

I told guests that the mirror under the table was used by the cats. When they go to drink water at the bowl, they have a rearview mirror. Here’s Felix just days later “checking his back”.

It was a long week.

It was a relief to have the event come and go.

It was a treat to have the prelude to the next event in a few more weeks.

Oh the anticipation. Yes, I’m a tease.

Pelargonium ‘Colocho’ cuttings paired with Sinningia ‘Shelby’ divisions in a flat at work.

What did I enjoy the most? More than anything I enjoyed telling people about my work. Lots of folks saw my racks of plants and assumed they were all for sale—but they’re not. I’m a propagator practicing my craft at home and it’s fun to share that with others even if they don’t always understand. I guess that’s what the blog is here for and for me to promote what one horticulturist does. Yes, I have collections of plants, and yes, there are breeding projects too. I just don’t advertise all of that.

Unknown Dutch iris I planted years ago. It pairs well with the new Jeep.

Once I get everything planted I plan to take more pics. I will write more about how watering has determined everything.

There will be charts, diagrams, and maps.

Kidding!

Maybe I should just have a few plant lists? Yes.

But now, it’s time to rest.

I just can’t stress enough how much it matters to not care about what other people think, and that if you want to share the work that you do, then go ahead and share it. Gardening matters. Growing plants makes us happy. If the sad people find their way into all of that, then so be it. Let them walk across that stage and exit left, or right, or whichever way folks leave your space.

Any which way works!

I just won’t be the one telling you how to design your space—but I’d happily sit and listen, letting you tell me all about it.

A Mighty Thank You: The Garden is Change

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None of these views of the garden exists any more. I’m just sharing photos of it from over the years since I’ve realized many gardens don’t have as many scene changes as this one has had. I’ve come to enjoy that quite a bit recently. I don’t even recognized these photos as the same place in a way. The garden is change. My garden has transformed many times.

I’ve lived in my home since 2006 and have spent a lot of time messing things up and rearranging everything again and again. I’ve screwed a lot up, I’ve killed a lot of plants, I’ve changed, I’ve grown, and my soft-opening Summer of 2022 HPSO Open Garden is upon me and I’m not completely ready for showtime.

The cat on the bench is Maurice. The garden is named after him.

Isn’t that the story of our lives? And while I like to keep my days in order, with a rather predictable routine, to be honest, I’ve come to better understand that I’m much more in flux and in movement, and performing—always.

Yet I’ve thought of myself as otherwise for so long.

I think of myself like this, kind of a lump, because I was traumatized at 30 by a primary immune disease diagnosis and I lacked the emotional support I needed for the first few years. That just snowballed into painful isolation. Many of you can relate now that you’ve been through the pandemic. I was living that kind of isolation long before COVID-19.

While the world continued to live around me, I just learned about plants while trying to ignore my difficult symptoms and the lack of available treatments. I had to wait and observe both the garden and myself.

I’m grateful that during both experiences I had a garden, but it feels to me like they were very different places. It as dark here during the first period of isolation, but during the pandemic, the second isolation, immense growth took place.

Preparing for an earlier Open Garden date this year was intentionally planned in order to get this place in order so that I could enjoy it even more this summer. While I’m not 100% happy with how it looks, I’m well on my way to being more organized, and I had a ton of fun working with friends to prepare.

After this, my next Open Garden is in a month so I intend to keep playing out there with friends for the next few weeks. It is beyond wonderful to have some help.

I’ve thought about the many lessons I’ve learned, and I’m less interested than ever in reviewing painful memories I’ve had here. I think mostly now of the love, the kindness, and the happiness of being with others. I look forward to having folks over for dinner and for the laugher and maybe even the unexpected tears to come. Life is always a series of challenges and we must take the good along with the bad.

And that mighty thank you I mentioned?

I feel filled to the brim nowadays with a genuine gratitude I’ve been savoring. I have it for life in general, for the little Annie inside of myself (since she so happily lived so that I could be the centered me of today), and for the friends and colleagues I have who bring meaning into my days.

Thank you for being you too.

Joy, curiosity, strength, and healing simply couldn’t be the same without all of you. We’re all in this together.