Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I must confess that the stark beauty of delicate petals blooming in morning sunlight catches me in wonder .
I am taken by the contrast of colours and textures .

But it is something more this playing in dirt thing.

Because even as I tend to my own gardens, or those of clients, as I try to turn the eyes of my children to the miracle of seedlings and unfurling and tendrils wrapping, it transcends .

I appreciate all the terminology and science that is gardening. Zones and soil , wind, drought, propagation.

Yet it is the growth that gets me. The dirt, the seed , sprouts, buds, life from dormancy or decay.
The cycle of life.
The inevitability of death , disease, withering, breakage, spoil.
The need for pruning, trimming, dividing, composting.

There is hope and joy and faith in shrubs and trees and perennials. Tenacious runners and suckers .
And it brings us to our knees in labour, in awe, scratching at the soil to let in air and water, scratching at tired crusty soul too.

I can slug my bucket of tools around with an eye for seasonally appropriate planting , weeding, and cutting back times.

But more importantly I can scatter seeds into a pot for a convenient kitchen herb garden , this late in June already, when this should be the picture,

not this,

Just like my little girl self , long ago on a very urban street in Montreal,when I planted dreams under a crumbling porch in a bean seed of faith, I water and wait.

Gardening shouldn't be intimidating or about achieving magazine ideals of colour balance and bloom time . It should suit your lifestyle, feed your soul, and maybe your family a little too. It should get you in touch with the earth 's bounty. Roots, and veins , and scents , greens, purples , yellows , and whites that add value to our view of the outdoors , our lives.

Be encouraged to  try , to look around you, to dig in and get a little muddy. 
And go ahead and confess to those flubs and flukes, the annuals that withered in plastic trays before you got to transplanting them, the sprouts pulled out with the weeds, the tomatoes planted so late you prayed for the longest summer ever to coax out a red prize. 

Share ... you'll feel better. 
Our basil will bring tomatoes to splendid perfection in no time , right?


  1. Great post! :) Our veggies got a bit of a slow start due to lots of heat and not much rain through May but they are taking off now. I am always wanting to plant basil and somehow never getting around to it...maybe if I get some started now I'll have some in August?

  2. Just the encouragement I needed as we move into a new home with NO garden at all, and I'm tempted to grumble about how lovely the one we just left must be about now.

  3. steph ; I'd say go ahead and plant away. Basil prefers the long hot days of summer, and can often be pinched back when it gets to leggy and starts to go to seed anyway.. you've saved yourself a job maybe :) I've had luck some years, and not so much others, as with many veggies and herbs , weather , drainage , bunnies ...
    good luck!

    emily.. oh, bittersweet beginnings. I won't be dismissive about the longing, but so often these opportunities bring a greatness we couldn't have imagined. I am slow to change.. but after painting a room, or switching a schedule around that isn't working, I am constantly shocked by how much in love I am all over again. Sometimes more so.
    I wrote a post that you might like , back before I was labelling them. I wonder if you feel like I do about all of this...


  4. Thanks for this...I'm encouraged to go out and plant Mom's poppy seeds right now!