Monday, July 27, 2009


The more I study this picture from the late spring archives, the more I am convinced that
I planted spinach, a few kinds of lettuce, parsely, sage, and basil.
Hidden behind the silk , deep in the eyes of innocence, the soil lingers.
Reminding me that paws dig, friends lend a helping hand or heave, dogs drive us crazy
I might give him a talking to, attempt to explain the importance of seeds staying where they've been planted. Basic gardening for actual crop advice.
I'm guessing he'll be hard to catch or hold in eye to eye contact, scurrying and playing hide and go seek, and spraying dirt and mulch , blossoms, and vegetation skyward.
I forgive you Diesel, I'm just heading out to the Farmer's Market for a bit...

Friday, July 24, 2009


A soft place to land this morning, waking up in the grating of living. Bell chimes of pots and pans in the gush of washing away the grime of our marching.

It takes a fairy tale land of sweet tarts and rain heavy dreaming, to ease me into awakening.

Whispering glides of rake, like flowing silk skirt edges, catch petals and pods and pollen as I crouch down to greet the bees. Gossamer divine flights flutter in my drifting eye edges, and I feel carried too,
transported to celestial cities of white halcyon spirits .

Where a morning is a lifetime of beginnings. Eyelash brushes of petals and heart.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


An evening walk in our neighbourhood , window shopping , gallery stops and admiration.
A driveway meets France.
( Except that this is probably the Hidcote Blue variety, a Zone 5/6 English lavender.)
Patches and swatches of colour and texture and scent.
I am drawn to mini masterpiece gardens that I barely noticed in the past few years, the weeks of scorching sun, parched earth, watering bans.
Suddenly the green crescents and streets canvas rolled out under unpredictable Southern Ontario skies, are painted with bold purples, yellows, pinks, and whites , salmons, orange.

A vibrancy that startles.

I am resigned to my little gardening space, usually confirmed at this point in the season when wilted and scorched attempts hardly awaken plant envy, instead bring sighs of relief that I have less to water, mulch, water again.
Mourn the loss of.

So suddenly here I am , yearning for more space to brush up against a hedge of this and that, and drift in perfumed holiday.
Even the roses look like they belong here, naturally knit among daisies, coneflowers, coreopsis, stella d'oro daylily standard hardy fare.

Do birds take advantage of milder , balmy stretch of days? The cardinals, finch , chickadees, and robins meet and greet each other and us in any hour of this mellow July. Socializing , rejoicing, and making merry in the cool lush promise .

Where I normally sigh in faith at droopy shrivelling leaves of our tired lilac , spent and succumbing to constant thirst, glaring sun. I now approach with respectful quiet and wonder.

This lilac was just a scrawny yet to bloom symbol of putting down roots to our young family and first home .
When my husband and I fought to keep eyes open and legs moving, piling boxes and baby living into the rented moving truck in the quiet of night meeting morning, we both knew without much discussion that we couldn't leave it behind.
We laughed at the sneaky theft of garden bones, like the new owners were suddenly robbed of spring.
But those tender shoots that bowed in wind and snow held our hope too.
Of family seasons that come and go and fill the heart with violet gladness . Deliverance from winter 's grip in defiant blossom of redemption.

The lilac has flourished in the protected corner outside the kitchen eating area window. Passed countless times on the way to, in and out of the yard, our days. We divide the bounty of sweet passage into spring , bouquets filling the bedrooms, kitchen, family room, and powder room with such overpowering fragrant life.
I wrap up wet chilly bundles of faith for teachers , for friends that drop by.
I share the trust with 2 sisters friends. Women that I've come to know in these past pitch of years as chained to my soul. Bound in the tears and joy of marriage and children and community.

One dear love receives them as reminder of what was too, as the other is delivered through the grief and quiet grace of her left behind family. Hands no longer reaching over the fence to snatch our glory, my heart, my innocence.

Our lilac gives and gives this year. As time subsides the flow of tears and bleeding pain , it gifts life.
This spring we hosted a family of robins tucked in the arms of our humble offering.

But the nest is vessel for patient trust yet again.

What masterpiece of Creation startles us all in the hectic bounty of our backyard. Persevering in the wrath of dog and people traffic.
Yet another birth, large family hope joining ours.
Survival .
Grateful praise.
Painting chirping bold living on a subdued spirit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


It thrills that some love brushes against me as I stomp on the pine needles and cedar mulch path under the forest pansy. I drop the bucket of tools, the empty one for debris, the rake, cultivator, edger, broom, and head for the shed.
I'm taken back in it's smell, to cottages and cabins , canoeing at sunset, the call of the loon, chipmunks scurrying .
There I find the leaf bags I'll need, and a visual mix in the supplies of almost retirees, grandparents, gardeners.
This sweet couple is kind enough to let me forage about in their retreat in the older part of the city, tucked in among the treasured tree canopies and ones being taken down for newer homes.

I look forward to the monthly English garden getaways , eager to root among the thirsty ones , weeding, deadheading, trimming.

The soil down near the lake is sandier than the clay that frustrates most of my neighbours.
The cool shade rewards efforts for rhododendrons , hydrangeas, ferns, woodland bulbs, and the like.
This garden looks organic and easy, meandering here and there, freely mixing and swaying and blooming .
I've discovered, as with most things in life, that it takes many behind the scene hours of work, with pruners, trimmer, clippers, and a trusty LTool to achieve a look of natural beauty.

The refined, the delicate, the muted tones and subtle shade contrasts.

Arbours and paths gently entice to tucked away seating for reflection. A pond babbles, nestled in ivy and wild violet . A gazebo beckons for refreshments , bird watching.

But behind many castle walls the fairy tales do not exist.
High tea illusions of the downstairs drudgery.
She taunts me there , that lady always waiting. With demure downcast eyes and plain dress.
For all is not peaceful in extreme gardening ventures , when you go in unprepared and stay in the game when the body cries otherwise.

I have spent the last few days in a woozy stupor of throbbing head and slow motion limbs.
I partied too hard on that day away from it all.
Too many hours bending and crawling in the snickering sun. Without a drop of liquid, water or otherwise.
Collecting bites and giving up blood .
Chirped at by the knowing chipmunk while I loaded my car, hands shaking in the hurried invoicing.

Even when things are as lush and innocent as a forest opening, one still needs to be prepared , with supplies, and common sense.

A good lesson at this point in the summer, with the schedules , the routines, the days and nights and sounds mixing like a cottage garden of tipsy July days. It's time to thin out, and cut back, and remember the basics. The wild rain drunk gardens are getting a little edgy lately, and this gardener feels like she 's recovering from jungle fever.

I rushed angrily, and frustrated, to escape the CD's blaring pulse from my own backyard, hoping to find sweet music for my soul at the home of elsewhere.

Only to need to be reminded to rest and drink and thirst for more of the love here where my heart beats best.
It really isn't all that romantic a notion to bloom where you're planted, and put in good strong roots to live by.
Plants wither quickly when you shock them in transplanting. Extra care in watering, fertilizing, support, pinching back, and soil conditions are vital factors in the transition.

So too with mothers and summers with almost grown children.

I must take care to tend to these transitions , and remember to take time to sway freely in the many colours of love and life giving roots.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Recent intermittent but relentless downpours are wreaking havoc with the garden maintenance scheduling. For clients, and in our yard.

I enjoy working in a mist of refreshing rain, preferring it over oppressive heat and humidity . But slogging through sheets of it, soaked through gloves and leaves and drooping stems and hair can wilt any song in the rain.

I ventured outside after dinner to take a few pictures between dark cloud coverings , and the night, colours and blooms blinking at me through drips and shivers.

Once again the uploaded evidence that I need to wear my glasses more often surprised me on the computer screen.

Little critters living out their destiny right under my nose and lens, as though the petals and leaves were just the setting and they the characters in mysterious stories.
A slimy slug like go getter. Was he looking back at the trail of evidence behind him. Or second guessing the height of extreme chomping. Was he leery of someone lighting a fuse and sending him rocket launched on a veronica purple flight.

A winged sojourner on still curled echinacea, trying on the pink for awhile , translucent flutter of subtle trespass.

How much of this ecosystem carries on out of our sight and mind until we see damaged evidence. Sanctimoniously in denial when confronted with a diseased, foraged, mildew covered, fungus laden and aphid haven plant. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be any evidence of the enemy, a root bound instability, a pool of water cutting off everything else.

The coddled nine bark, the babied coral bell, the watched over dogwood, much loved iris, meeting a doom and death in spite of our efforts or without a warning it seems.

Growing a gardening for pleasure , landscaping to beautify your property, planting trees for shade and a good feeling, seeding and sodding and sowing some hope, is a gamble .
It can be an investment of time and money and pride and frustration with no guarantee of dividend .
There is much to Mother Nature's ways that we can't control , not with pesticides, fungicides, guards, fertilizers, Not with the best soil, hours of grooming, evenings of research.
Something can be stirring and creeping and invading and we can be powerless to halt the inevitable.

We fret and grumble and rush to prevent epidemic , huff and puff and mourn and move on.
Plant again. Start over. Dig in and get growing.
Something inside of us that we can't always see or name or assure will be there soon enough.

But it is the beauty of our nature.

Tossing seeds of faith into the breeze , wishing on weeds and fireflies and stars.
And waiting again for the miracle.