Tuesday, February 09, 2010

On gardening in daily bits

just waking up
I worked in the garden this morning. It's cold out there, but things are waking up even early now in February, and it's so quiet and still, except for the birds.

I sat for awhile with my coffee and toast with strawberry jam, and took it all in. Steam billowed from my coffee, and the cries of a seagull, laughing, echoed in the fog while it came in for a landing on the neighbor's roof.

I've often thought of the massive cutback and clean up of this time of year in the garden as a chore. But as I worked last weekend, I realized that it was more fun to take my time, to be in the moment, to really look at the dirt as I cleared the leaves and debris, and to examine the structure of the plants as they stood as their bare selves.

I saw so much more.
I saw the moss and lichen growing on the north facing branches of the trees.
lichen and moss

The hyacinths stretching to get more sun as they emerge from the soil. The rose branches that were brown and would benefit from a hard prune. I worked slowly, and methodically, and when I stretched out my spine and stood back, I saw the garden structure, the opportunity, the beauty of what we've created over the last 12 years here, and I was grateful.

This work isn't a chore. It's my meditation, my exercise, my mind's rest. It's my creative muse and creation of beauty. My connection to nature, to wildlife, to my part of Portland and living in the Northwest. It's part of my being.

So I'm trying to do more of it, on a daily basis, in little spurts and bits. This morning I cut back the hardy fuschia, the huge stand of Matilija poppies, sedum, globe thistle, asters, and the David Austin rose. I found beneath it all the new sedum forming little rosettes and begging to be divided, tufts of black mondo grass standing strong and in all of it's dark, true-black glory, and the red veined sorrel forming early leaves.

black mondo grass

By the time I was done, my half full cup of coffee on the back porch was stone cold, as were my toes. But a quarter of my side bed was cleared, my blood was rushing, and I had worked through my mental list of tasks, client needs, and began some creative musing for a new client's book layout.

My creativity and connection to self comes easily in the garden. Without the chatter of the radio, twitter, facebook updates, e-mails or text messages. While I may have one leg in that world, I will always have one leg in the garden. And hopefully, more and in these inspiring daily bits.

dew on euphorbia


Lia Hollander said...

Lovely. I also find I get my best thinking done when I step away from all the chatter & hubbub.


chook said...

is that frost?

LeLo said...

Missburrows - I'm finding that when I break free from the chatter and hubbub things come more easily, gracefully and creatively. I think that's really about listening more to myself than getting caught up in the hype of others? There's much thought I'm putting into all of this, obviously, and one I'll be noodling around with in the coming months.

Chook - I don't think so: it looked more like dew, tiny tiny bits of dew, but when I increased the contrast on that photo of the euphorbia, it whitened it up some. It was more dewy this morning than frosty.

Unknown said...

we must be in the same mind frame...i did about an hour's worth of work today while all the kiddos played in the yard. dug into the mulch to see what is still alive and am soooo excited about it all. little spurts of new growth at the base, and i noticed the daffodils were starting to peek up through the mulch as well...we still have another 6 weeks before our last frost, but the clean up has begun and i'm preparing for spring for sure..;)

love you sis! thanks for your inspiration...

Cher said...

I hear you. Every time I'm out there, I find myself huffing, puffing, sweaty as I haul stuff from place to place...but I can't stop smiling while I'm doing it. Hee.

Cher said...

Will you be @ the show this weekend?

hydroponics said...

Well, plants were really something that you are expecting on your garden because they give a good purpose.I must say gardens were really a nice topic to discuss.

Mark H said...

Wooww....I have been thinking exactly the same thing. IT IS time to begin joining the plant life that is sprouting everywhere.... it is a joy to see it that "new" .

Julie said...

beautiful. a pleasure to read.

Best Wishes, Marie said...

it is nice to get the old stuff out before the new starts to grow. it is also easier.

are you mulching coffee grounds into your beds??????