My Garden Delivers Calm in a Mad, Mad world.

curled stamenMy garden has been a little haven this week. I planted this dianthus a couple of weeks ago and after a hard day at work this week I was brought back to a calm place in my mind by the incredible spicy clove scent of this little blossom. This one right here. These are commonly referred to as “Pinks”. It’s a small mounding plant with little blossoms. If you plant some, be sure to choose one with scent, not all dianthus have it.

mandarin blossomI love so many things about the Oregon climate. I miss the rain and the cold and the clouds. This little blossom reminded me that one of the things I missed about California was the ability to grow citrus. This one little blossom so full of rich balmy scent grounded me a few times this week. I park my Vespa right in front of it. I stop and smell anything that’s blooming every time I come home. I’m reminded what is good about the Mediterranean climate I live in. Plus, we did actually get rain last week and that was fantastic.

mushroom 4The rain we got is also the reason for this surprise – a cluster of mushrooms nestled in among the lemon balm in the fig tree barrel. I don’t know what it is but to see a mushroom in our dry climate is pretty exciting. Eventually I want to create an edible mushroom garden in our shady side-yard.

garlic bedI need to mulch the garlic beds. I’m afraid I didn’t plant the bulbs quite deep enough. They’ll do better with mulch, especially as the warm weather settles in.

garlic and foxgloveThis is my other garlic bed. I also have garlic planted around my roses and in between my herbs in the middle tier of my raised beds. These foxgloves were planted last year but remained small in the shadow of the summer squash that was in this bed at the time.

snow peasSnow peas! The snails ate the ones I planted a couple of months ago. Snails are proving to be a formidable pest in this garden. I have bought some Sluggo which I always found effective in the past.

sorrel 2My mom’s sorrel. I’m not a huge sorrel fan but isn’t this beautiful? It overwintered and is looking refreshed.

English DaisyEnglish daisies. I love daisies. All daisies. Such a simple joy. Even if you don’t have a garden you can have a pot of these in a sunny window.

My garden has been reminding me of the cyclical nature of things like time, seasons, feelings, trips, love, housework, jobs, opportunities, dreams. Things come around again and again. Sometimes it’s hard to see the cycle because it’s too small or too large for us to grasp. I don’t think we need to always see it. But it’s useful to be reminded that even things like death aren’t truly an end so much as a return to what we like to think of as the beginning.

The air this morning is mild and pretty. The mourning doves are cooing and it brings into focus other mornings from the distant past that are acutely pleasant to me. Summer mornings when I was 14 years old. My parents left me home alone for a week while the rest of the family traveled somewhere I can’t remember. They gave me grocery money and instructions to take care of the garden and animals. It was one of the best memories I have of being a teen.

I remember waking up early and watering the gardenĀ  before the heat set in. The mourning doves must have been cooing then too because that sound always brings me right back to this memory. I’d eat yogurt, fruit, and granola for breakfast. I’d drink tea. Then I’d watch soaps on tv while making paper dolls. Sometimes alone and sometimes with my two best friends. In the afternoon I would go down town and hang out with friends. Go to their houses, or to Lithia park. Then I’d be home again, picking vegetables from the garden using my mom’s shallow harvest basket.

Out there in my mom’s garden, in the late afternoon heat, the world was silent except for the occasional squabbling of our hens and the hum of the bees. The air was spicy with clove scent from my mom’s carnations. It was supreme happiness to me, to be all alone, tending a garden in peace and a quiet interrupted only by soft happy sounds. No family fighting, no discord, no unrest in my head, no fears, just blissful solitude standing in the garden my mother designed and grew.

Now I find that in my own garden whether it’s large or small or just a few pots on a ledge. I feel that same happy stillness when surrounded by plants and listening to mourning doves.

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