|Snow on a big leaf Rhododendron.|
My seed sheet is now complete and is accessible by clicking on the link above.
It was a difficult beast to put down because I’m challenged by the fact I still don’t know where my garden will be in the future. This beast is not yet purring but I will make it purr.
I know that I’m a woman who sorts seeds. It’s what I do. Last year I didn’t get to participate in this dull and slow process so doing it this year made me feel more like me.
|Some people use Nyquil, others use Icelandic Schnapps.|
The flu is everywhere right now and I hope with all of my heart that I’m able to escape it.
So far, so good. I’d much rather watch others deal with this creature. It’s not one I’m well equipped for, but I think with a bottle of this stuff, at least I wouldn’t care if I caught it.
I have a friend who chose to use this medicinal treatment involving Icelandic Moss Schnapps (http://www.fjallagrasa.is/en). The moss used is actually the lichen Cetraria islandica but it was hard to tell just by looking at the shriveled and dried up chunk of plant life inside of the bottle.
This is the little fur beast who inspired this post. Sometimes animals shock and surprise us. This is my partially feral garden cat who, after 7 years of hiding in the basement, now demands to sleep with me at night. With the other two geriatric cats currently restricted to the main floor she is able to hop the fence and run upstairs to jump onto the bed each evening.
Having seen her as a feral cat for the past 7 years it’s wonderful to see her change. Somehow she’s broken through a trust boundary and I’m thrilled to see the change.
I cannot help but believe too that my newfound calmness and focus has helped her feel safer around me. Before, I believe I was far too frantic for her. Life has really changed a lot since the divorce.
She has changed too.
|19th century vase with thistle, Japan. Portland Art Museum.|
|Discovering low-sodium dried sardine dashi has made me very happy. Making a hearty miso soup has been a great boon during wintertime.|
I put this little set together a few weeks ago but have been far too busy to post the pictures.
There are so many pieces of retro funky junk that can be put to good use in the garden.
|Sunset from the front porch.|
|From left to right: Mt. St. Helen’s, Mt. Rainer, and Mt. Adams. Before the age of 22 I’d climbed 10 mountains in the Pacific Northwest and Mt. St. Helen’s was the last on that list.|
When my world seemingly closed, and I had to retreat to lick my wounds, it was the natural world and learning about plants that kept me attached to life. Sometimes, when I’d fly to CA to see my ex I’d often hide a few errant tears if I saw the mountains of the Pacific Northwest knowing that I could no longer hike or backpack in the forests that skirted them. My garden had become a surrogate for these adventures, but I still very much missed the real thing.
To heal that pain, I studied plants in books, purchased seeds to grow, and I sought out a few plant folks. This was not a replacement for the joy I’d once found in the beauty and solitude of the forest and in nature, instead it became a symbolic bandage meant to hold back the deep weeping emotional wound I’d developed. While my peers were out exploring during the spring and summer, I was at home, often so swollen I was unable to walk, and I’d read about the plants that others were able to physically go out to view.
Sometimes I’d feel like a caged animal and in retrospect those sobs that came out of my loneliness now seem more like howls for the wild as much as they were my cries for help.
|The Winged Victory of Samothrace or the Nike of Samothrace is a piece I find very inspirational.
It was the first piece of garden statuary I ever purchased.
|This was the backyard before we’d removed all of the grass about 6 years ago.|
|My plant labor-atory.|
|More of my plant labor-atory.|
Ending therapy means ending a relationship. For me that still means leaving my garden, and although I am ready to do this if I really have to do so, I still have my doubts that it’s the best idea.
What began for me as therapy has grown into something else. I cannot extricate the experience of plants from who I am anymore. How plants will now figure into my plan I don’t know, but plants are my future.
|An undated photo of my three cats under the willow arbor. Yes, they think they are too good to sit on the ground.|
Like many other Americans I am living with a chronic illness that makes many forms of employment difficult. I too want to live with my dignity and this is challenging when daily you feel as though you are partially unreliable due to your condition and its symptoms. Finding flexible employment is not easy, but we all must make our way in life.
I’ve had to grow into accepting this as my life, and I am more than grateful for the reprieve that a new medication has given me. My life is almost normal now and the difficulties are far more manageable than ever.
But I cannot afford to own the garden that healed me and that is what I am faced with right now. To think of selling something that did so much for me is really difficult. It has been not only where I’ve enjoyed hiding, but over time—especially during the last year—it has been able to reintroduce me to the world and to more and more people, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting and speaking to all of the amazing plant-loving people I’ve met both here and in person.
Funny too that as much as I’d hoped for this post to be about not really knowing how to remake my life right now all I really want to say here now is that I hope this post inspires you to reach out to someone in your own life who might need your help right now. I am giving back to someone who almost lost her husband in a cycling accident recently and I know if you think hard enough you too can think of a friend, family member, or neighbor who might benefit from some garden help.
We really are all garden therapists when we reach out and get dirty for someone else.
|Part of my springtime mess. Sure, I have a potting area, but there is a pile of stuff there right now.|
When you look at my seed starting numbers for 2011 you can see why I am so tired. You may find yourself wondering too if I am nuts, and yes, I might be because these numbers are totally ridiculous.
I have also been potting up plants from flats I planted a few years ago—not all plants grow quickly. Some of them actually have surprised me. They looked rather small in their pots, but their roots were really ready to go and grow on.
Eventually, I will plant some of the plants, watch them grow, and then collect their seeds. Some of these plants will be traded, and the rest will be sold on Craigslist—or else to friends and family.
|The back garden before severe editing that will begin soon.|
|Some of the seedlings in their new pots.|
|Scene of springtime that kept me focused as I worked.|
Then there are the houseplants that I arrange, and then rearrange. This is always a fun way to spend my time both inside and outside and it is a great break in my seedling routine. The houseplants are so much happier because of it too.
This Tradescantia sure made a mess when I brought it back inside the house last fall. Now the other houseplants that lived beneath it all winter have babies. Next year I am going to collect the seeds and keep that from happening again. I have no idea which species this is, but I think it’s Tradescantia fluminensis. Any thoughts?
This year I purchased this planter at IKEA. Like the other ones from last year, it is also made to hold a 1 gallon plastic containers. I had a small one stuffed in it in this picture, but you get the idea. I love that it can hang perfectly on a chain link fence.
Lastly, there is another new addition.
I am one of those folks who grew up in a home and garden that was like a museum and mom would have cringed if this had ever arrived in her space. I too wondered about it when I first saw it, but I was with a foster girl, one who is likely to be in the system until she is an adult, and she really loved it.
In her world, no one can afford things like this, and yes, they are seen as completely frivolous, but the fact that I would buy it and hang it outside actually mattered to her. When you are caring for a child of meth, one who’s mother chose the drug over her children, this kind of thing does matter.
Wearing my big heart on the sleeve of my house’s eave mattered to her, and for this reason, it mattered to me. I wanted to model the kind of behavior she craved in an adult, and so I obliged.