A pattern is emerging for my spring break — weed, read, weed, read. Or more like, weed, weed, read, weed, weed, read.
This morning however I didn’t take my teapot out into the yard, because it is a bit nippy and breezy just yet. I have pulled grass out of the succulent rocks until I see it in my sleep. I moved all the pavers that support the portable grill and shifted the grill sacrifice area to the backside of the house, so the view to westringia, rosemary, iris, and yarrow is not interrupted by the grill and table. I have dug up plants to move to brighter locations and tossed spent ones on the green pile to be collected Thursday.
I think that gardening is like thought in a sense. I have the view of my yard through six years of development. Back when I built the raised bed circle out of re-purposed concrete from breaking up the extra driveway. It contained wheelbarrows of horrible clay dirt, mostly in clods, from taking the slope off the front yard where I build a paver retainer wall. I also added bags of gypsum and compost, and later, when it sported daffodils and strawberries, I layered it with peat moss. Now the raised bed has filled up with redwood feeder roots invading from the tree at the back of my lot.
Some plants now quite established were once on the sale rack, with a blue paint spot on the can — miserable wilted creatures that surely no one would want, except a woman who spent every cent she had to get a house. And those rescued plant orphans have rewarded me with tall, blossoming red Australian tea roses, mock orange, buddlea, honey suckle, wild fuschia, sword ferns, ginger, creeping thyme, and others whose names do not pop up automatically, but they know who they are.
So the changes in the yard scape are slow — both the successful growth and those that succumb to bugs or dryness. Or a certain benign neglect that occurs during parts of my school year. And thoughts are like that. For awhile I think this one thing about such and such, but slowly my view changes and I think somewhat differently about the subject. That is like the buddlea that I cut down now come back up as a bush, almost ready to put out its clusters of white flowers butterflies like.
I moved a rose from the front yard, thinking it would be happier with more sun along the back side fence, but it has taken 3 years for it to look remotely content. Sometimes my ideas are well-intentioned but not really great. And I have to watch the slow progress of something I’ve instituted with apprehension. The ironic thing is that I planted two Double Delight roses in the place of the resident apricot rose and those bushes have done well, in spite of the leaf cover from the two elephantine sycamore trees on the sidewalk.
Thinking, the deeper kind of observation and testing of belief, is a slow growth process. Yes, an insight may sweep in suddenly, but I contend that real growth in the human mind is organic and comparable to the plant, soil, water and light processes of a garden.
The gorilla hair I have ordered by the cubic yard and spread over the back yard in place of grass — this mat of ground redwood bark, which is compatible with having a redwood tree (yikes, a giant!!) at the back end of my yard, has worn and packed down and did not hinder the weeds this spring. Not very much. I think the seed lands on top of the stuff too. I don’t know if I want to add another couple yards of gorilla hair to the back to fluff and spruce it up, or if there’s another kind of ground cover? This is similar to not assuming that all things should go on as they have. Just because I am trained in one aspect of education does not mean I have to continue doing that thing. I have a broad skill set and should look at choices and options.
The profusion of blossoms, from calla lilies I moved to underneath the front picture window, to orange and yellow nasturtium, the stalks of succulent blooms, and the continued flowers on the branches of the quince are lovely indeed. But there is a foreboding in this outburst because we are not supposed to expect rain for this area. And the drought means things won’t make it. Even if I get more gray water set up with my plumber so I’m not hand bucketing bathing water out the window to the yard. Drought means impending death for some of the more tender and sometimes extreme stress for the established bushes and trees. Then they fall over in the first big winter storm.
That is also how gardening is like thought. The reality that my life is limited and that I will surely die, and don’t know how soon. I imagine myself rather sharp in my nineties, if not a bit frail, then at least lively in my countenance. However, on n’y sais jaimais. So, even with a broad skill set and the courage to learn new things, there’s a limit.
So, off to another corner of the yard as the sun is bathing it.
I finished reading All the Light We Cannot See late last night. When I can say anything clear about that gem of a book, perhaps I’ll write about reading. And a lighter tome, Anne Lamott’s Small Victories is next up on my Kindlefire.
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