Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Garden Life

I thought of starting a new blog on gardening -- or my thoughts thereon. But all is one. Gardening is an artform. So is poetry. I will post my thoughts here occasionally--thoughts of the garden community that lives in my backyard, in my heart, and in the dreams of all who love life. I hope you appreciate the intent. And may these words inspire a new view of a love you may have forgotten. Let it grow.

My Garden Life --#1

What is Utopia? Can there ever be one?

Just as its origins in Greek suggest, I believe it is not. Or it is: no place. Perfection is a changeless condition. Forever changing by the plus factor is an improvement on perfection. Better is the continual change of life in process. Always growing. Always changing. Always opportunity for something better.

My garden life is that. In my garden the cycles of life are spiralic--always ascending. If not by the bean vine's physical form in summer, then by the release of its Spirit through nourishing my body, or by its life-essence focused in the seed for next season's destiny: re-emergence of Spring.

The garden. At one time the garden to me was a plot of production. Produce. Vegetables, berries. Roots and herbs. Flowers were periphery. Not the main page. Doodles at the edge of the grocery list.

There is a new view now. Acceptance of a softer reality. Marily nurtured it – persisting through my resistance:

“Nonsense, you can’t eat them.”

“Too expensive; they take up all that space.”

But she never let up. “I want beauty in the borders.”

Color and fragrance.

Window boxes like in Europe.

Red geraniums.

Cut flowers for the house.

Bouquets for the table.

Marriage has tempered my stark ways and insistence. At first I thought it necessary to nullify the perceived-silly thought remnants of my mother still spinning in my head. Raving exclamation over the color of that rose. Screaming excitement for the first blooms of her petunias. To me it was exaggerated emotion for the ordinary all around. Nature on the farm was everywhere. It was all nice and always there. The gardens, the fields, the herd and flocks, the woods and creek with the tadpoles and frogs. The birds and cats and dogs. And wild animals, still quite often observed from a distance.

Even with the hard work of farm living, life was good. At the time it didn’t seem easy, but it was good. It was full. And though we didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t experience Great Depression or the loss of war. Those stories that Mom and Dad kept fresh for themselves were of experience kept further than arms-length for us kids. Insistence of hard work, scrimping and saving, a penny saved is a penny earned, and clean up your plate ‘cause there are starving kids in China—all made us know that things could be worse, were for others, and could be again if we weren’t intent in no-nonsense, industry and our prayers, Hail Mary, Holy Mother of God.

So, out on my own and starting a family as a man in my early 20s, I tweaked a few of the values earlier learned.

  • First, I guess was admitting that enjoyment/pleasure was okay in itself—not just the satisfaction of harvesting a crop or bringing a pot of soup to the sick neighbor.
  • Second, hard work for sure, but some of it was really hard play to exhaustion.
  • Third was spiritual worth, though that evolved from mainline severe-ness, through new-age fringe and fluff, to dead-center fulfillment, which we all claim in our current belief. But this is for real. And if you don’t know, I can’t tell you. 'Cuz all us humans are as stubborn. And we all have to come to the knowing of truth in belief and fullfillment ourselves. Maybe.
  • And fourth, gardening.

Last night I noticed another zucchini ready to pick just before dark when it rained. This morning we enjoyed mint and nettle tea.

I am a lucky Soul.


  1. Oh, Ardi, I was reading practically my entire blog and waaayyy back in 2008 came upon a comment from you and decided I wanted to go visit you ... and how lovely is this post of yours. I am SO glad you came to understand the value of the flowers. Of course, every living thing has its awesomeness. Today I was mowing with the Toro for nearly 2 hrs and kept trying to dodge clovers and queen anne's lace and chickory (the blue flowers so fleeting and beautiful...the stems yuck!) and bees and crickets and grasshoppers. I just wanted to cry because it was our "duty" to keep our 2 acres mowed "by ordinance of the city", unlike when we were young and that one acre was an enormous garden my father planted and wildflowers would grow waist high or higher and I'd love to pick a bouquet for my mom. I'd love to pick one for myself now (and I do but it's not as fulfilling as the wildflowers of childhood allowed to grow). I felt at one with all that was growing and sad to know I was cutting them down, so I sang a song of forgiveness and saw a huge new monarch, one of the first since our patch of milkweed has gotten established. I am looking fwd to seeing more monarchs and more of your commentary. I have missed coming here........and I hope you won't mind my too-lengthy post. ;oD
    You are a Beautiful Soul ... me, too, eh?

  2. I have always so longed yearned for a home a place to call my own..a little house with a white picket fence in front..and in the backyard a very beautiful garden filled with the loveliness of blended rainbow colors and the bouquet and freshness of the smell of flowers..especially pansies and roses.

    Well, at least I can "dream" it in my mind and heart and soul.:o)

    Beautifully written post Ardi. I'll stop by from time to time and make a comment when I can. I won't be around much for a while though.



  3. Gardening is life. I'm with you in quiet appreciation.