I was intimidated, rather downright pressured into growing my patio garden again. Work and other commitments have kept me from my much needed therapy. The elder women in the neighborhood were having yet another garage sale. This always attracts the attention of other neighbors who make themselves known with dog introductions and re-introductions, gesturing where they live. Nobody even recognizes me when taken out of the context of my garden. “Oh, you’re the one with all of the beautiful flowers” they ascertain.
I listened to the Ladies’ accolades with joy and pride. The polite introductions rally into conversations, quickly becoming a chorus of collective scolding I haven’t heard since childhood. “The best boat is your friend’s boat “applies here. I nodded in shame from across the street apologizing for my “Morticia Addams” style collection of dusty ceramic pots and barren window boxes. They prattled on, eventually acknowledging the time and effort I spend expressing my passion in a manner that delivers a similar sense of satisfaction.
The afternoon sun succumbs to a cooler, more tolerable time to dig in the dirt. I let the days pass and had a responsibility to the folks who have shared in the sheer delight of all the life and beauty a garden brings. I put everything aside and set out to discover a new nursery nearby able to supply my needs. I’m like a kid in a candy store, well, in my case a bakery, high from the sugar rush of colors I equate with the floral festooned frosted Hough Bakery cakes commemorating every special occasion.
Armed with my arsenal of healing herbs and fragrant flowers, my affect immediately changes. My husband breathes a sigh of relief as I flit about the patio performing my ritualistic dance. “You’re in your habitat” he confirms. This is my necessary prescription – Ga (gardening) is my element.
Each year I am faced with the same considerations depending upon which plants return, what I may need to replace, what offers privacy and how much food I can grow. Our garden is a balance of containers and ground, annuals and perennials, herbs and flowers, trees and shrubs. I have successfully germinated from seed and nursed trees, planted, transplanted, shared and purchased. Like our neighborhood, our patio reflects a similar cross section of variety and local “color”, adding dimension during the past decade.
My modest garden literally transforms into a living tapestry I sometimes entertain the notion of replicating on the concrete pad beneath. The plants are a conversation piece, an excuse to say hello and exchange for helpful tips. The stage is being set for growth where we cultivate friendships and kinships. Acquaintances and seasons alike mature, yielding the abundance of the first harvest signaling the traditional sharing of recipes and preparation of “boomerang foods”. The dishes given return filled with cherished, home crafted meals that nourish our hearts.
My friend recently forwarded an inquiry she had made to the National Wildlife Federation regarding a “backyard habitat”. Registering your backyard as a wildlife habitat promotes generations of plants and species indigenous to the specified area. My parents registered their yard after accepting stewardship of a few acres of wooded ravine and apple trees of nearly 40 years. We live near the old homestead and have nurtured a wildlife community of our own. We have repeatedly attracted humming birds and hummingbird bumblebee moths. Not sure if it is due to the frequency of our themed purple patio or our proximity to a nuclear power plant – which also emits a frequency of its glowing own. In all seriousness, we don’t live close. I still react to an image that sticks in my mind of a two inch wasp I once saw in that area.
All of these thoughts and activities circulate the blood and stimulate the senses with a therapeutic effect. The individual botanical notes calm our nerves whilst awakening our spirit. We participate in life’s never-ending cycle to be one with the world.
The beloved Hibiscus tree is still hibernating. The Oleander now stands in its stead. I am hoping it sets an example for the Hibiscus from its garage window view. We are ALL keeping our fingers crossed.