Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fresh Oregano

Roger and Joyce have moved back into our neighborhood after living in her house in town for the past 4 years. We had a Welcome to the Neighborhood party for them. What do you give the mature couple who has everything? Plants are a good gift.

Joyce had asked about oregano, so i gave her a clump of oregano. Oregano needs to be divided every year, and it's hard to find takers. Someone wants oregano! Hooray! I'm so happy to give it away. Plus it's so fun to walk out the back door and just pick a stem of oregano whenever you need it for an Italian tomato sauce or zucchini.

What is bountiful in your garden? What is bountiful in your life?
Focus on that right now. Feel abundance, even if it's only 1 on a scale from 0 to 10.
Wow! I have fresh oregano.
Sink into the feeling of bounty from the garden or other bounty in your life.
Stay in this feeling for at least 10 seconds. Thirty seconds if you can.
Focusing on abundance is one mundane way to hardwire happiness into your brain, into your mind.

Wow! I have fresh oregano, right outside my back door.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Saying Yes to Astrantia

I drove my sweetie to his church organ-playing job on Sunday morning, and one of the congregants, Heidi, drove him home. While she was here, she toured the gardens and commented on astrantia.

"Do you want some?" i asked.
Most people have a hard time saying "Yes."
Heidi asked about sun or shade. She asked about soil. She told me about her garden. Eventually, i picked up a shovel and dug into a large patch of astrantia that desperately needed dividing. I gave her a giant clump.

I love giving plants away.
And i love dividing my perennials. A smaller clump really does look better.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wedding Flowers

Alison from Floral Artistry
My sweetie, whose right leg is still in a brace after emergency knee surgery 5 weeks ago, played his keyboard for a wedding at the Grafton Inn yesterday. When we arrived early in order to get him set up, Alison, the florist, was at work on the wedding arbor.

So beautiful. And so temporary. The bride throws her bouquet. We could say "throws it away." The flower girls litter the aisle with rose petals and leave their baskets sitting in the grass.

The piano plays. The wedding begins.  The wedding ends.

Impermanence.
The music is gone. The wedding is gone. The flowers are gone.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mow the Garden Down

Yesterday i went with my friend Aew to the Temple Forest Monastery in Temple, New Hampshire. In Thai, this sounds something like Wat Paa Wat.

After the 6 monks had lunch, i walked around the grounds with the "work monk"--Ajahn Caganando. The potential for gardens is beautiful. My advice to him: Mow everything flat green.

Aew kept pointing out where we could plant a bed of day-lilies. "But who's going to maintain them?" i asked. A garden needs a gardener.

The Forest Monastery runs entirely on volunteer labor and gifts. If no one brings food, the monks don't eat that day. Since the volunteers and volunteer schedule is haphazard for this brand-new monastery, it's better to mow down the raspberry patch, the herb garden, and the former grape arbor. In fact, maybe it's best to not even have a compost pile either. Maybe the compost can be given to a local farmer?

What kind of garden advice is that? Practical. This advice is accepting things as they are. Period.
"You really understand us," said Ajahn Caganando.

Less is more. Less garden is more time--more time for meditating and more time for waking up to this very life.
Right now.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lupine Seeds

Lupine have gone to seed, so i cut down the stem of seed pods and carry them to my lupine nursery bed. I had noticed that lupine love to grow in my wood chip paths, so a few years ago, i dedicated one narrow bed beside the vegetable garden as my lupine seed bed. I covered the bed in old wood chips, and Voila! Next year: lupines, which i can transplant to where i want them.

For decades, i had been inspired by the children's story of Miss Rumphius, since i am a Miss Rumphius-type character myself. I spread lupine seed in many locations with no luck. But the wood-chipped flower bed works great!

Miss Rumphius scatters lupine seeds and the neighbor children are inspired by her and the stories of her world travels.

We never know what seeds we are planting and what might bloom long after we are gone. I have certainly planted enough irritation seeds in my lifetime that i hope most of those "weeds" get weeded out by my meditation practice. Nowadays, i try to plant joy and happiness, gratitude and calm at every opportunity.

What seeds are you planting today?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Noxious Knotweed to the Rescue

During my post-cancer treatment, i go not only to the oncologist, but also to a naturopath. The naturopath suggests several supplements. The one she prescribed for me yesterday is Resveratrol, which i found in the health section of the food co-op. Here's the kicker: Resveratrol is made from Japanese knotweed!

Japanese knotweed is a loathsome invasive, growing along roadsides and streams, and crowding out native plants. My sweetie Bill, who is on our town's Conservation Commission, goes every summer month to cut down 4 patches of knotweed along nearby U.S. Route 5. It takes years of dedication to knock out a single stand of knotweed. One gardener told me a shoot of knotweed in her backyard came from a neighbor's patch, 65 feet away.

Noxious knotweed turns out to be a stellar anti-oxidant. Our "enemy" becomes my friend.

The Buddha called everyone he met "friend." Could we call everyone we meet today "Friend"? Could we call every irritating, unpleasant thing "friend"? Quakers call themselves the Society of Friends, and work toward peace in many different ways.

Yes, some friends are sneaky and underhanded. We still keep our guard up--for our own safety and for the safety of others. But we don't need to hate. We keep talking, communicating, and connecting in a friendly manner, like the Dalai Lama's attitude toward the Chinese who have tortured so many of his fellow Tibetans.

Hate only harms ourselves. Even if we are only hating Japanese knotweed. Right now, i am grateful to this particular enemy.