Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Garden Pants

This morning my friend Kathryn gave me a pair of summer pants that she bought at a rummage sale. "When i saw them," she said, "they screamed 'Cheryl!'" She's right. They're just my colors. And the long legs protect me from ticks while the fabric is light enough for summer. Oooh. I'm so happy.

I did make a few adjustments. I replaced the drawstring waist with elastic, and, for tick protection, elastic around the ankles. Now they look like Aladdin pants, which i like.

The garden has no opinion about what clothes i wear, if any. All opinions are my own. All opinions are inherently stressful. As you look at my photo, notice your own opinion. Just notice it and try to name it. Roll it around in your mind to see if you can feel a tiny bit of tension somewhere in your body.

Meanwhile, my body is clothed with the generosity of Kathryn.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Germinating Seeds

There's a problem with planting 9-year-old bean seeds--they don't germinate very well.

I am an inveterate saver of seeds, and sometimes the seeds are a few years old before i actually get them into the ground. Today i'm replacing them with 6-year-old bean seeds that i've soaked in water for 24 hours. Hmmm. Wonder how they will do?

I love green beans, and i especially love these thin French filet beans. The time for planting seeds of kindness is now. Don't delay!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Protecting Our Seedlings

Yay! It's going to rain this afternoon. Quick! Do some transplanting!

I am transplanting little broccoli and kale seedlings. And, due to my previous experience with those voracious voles, i'm putting a milk carton "collar" around each seedling to protect it from the vole vandals.

When we are planting new habits in our life, we sometimes need to protect ourselves from the outside world. Friends, family, and society are comfortable with us as we are, bad habits and all. If we change, then they might have to change. We want to change, but they probably don't. So we protect ourselves by limiting our exposure to toxic friends and toxic media.

Broccoli seedlings that i planted a month ago are just beginning to "flower" with heads of broccoli.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stop Transplanting

Summer has arrived. Two weeks early, according to me. This means i have to stop transplanting, unless i am willing to water those transplants every day for 3 or 4 days.  You understand, that left to my own desires, i could transplant a couple dozen plants every day, and thus forget to water. It's a better policy to just stop transplanting.

The arrival of summer also means that all my gardening needs to be done by 9 a.m. I already miss May when i can be out in the garden all day long. Sigh.

The season has changed. Daffodils are dead. The early spring of lettuce green, and the mid-spring of tulips are gone. I'm not sure what happened to late spring, but i call these 80- and 90-degree days "summer." Time to stop playing in the dirt and go play in the water instead.

Our personal seasons change, whether or not we are ready. Right now, my hip flexors have seized up so i have trouble bending over. This is what my grandmother called having a hitch in her git-along. Wait! I still have so much gardening to do. I don't want to slow down! But, for once, the body gives the orders, starting with Ouch! And the mind tries to relax.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Let Them Go

Yesterday i gave a Master Gardener talk at the library. I was prepared to talk about mulch and groundcovers, but after introductions, in which i asked people to say something about the vision for their garden, the subject turned out to be downsizing the garden. Oh, this is hard.

One friend, Dee, who sold her house and extensive gardens last year, moved to a downtown apartment where her gardening is confined to pots on her balcony.  Dee stopped by and saw my gardens for the first time. Tears came to her eyes. At the same time, her voice-of-reason said, "It takes a small army to maintain all these beautiful gardens." Touché!

That small army used to be me. Now it includes a 10-hour-a-week gardener.

We love our gardens. And then the awareness dawns on us: It's time to let them go.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Letting Go

The library is having a plant and book sale on Saturday. I'm dividing perennials and potting them for the sale. Unfortunately, i can't go on Saturday morning because i'm having a day-long retreat here at home with two Dharma friends. Life is so full of wonderful choices, but i simply cannot do everything. Every day i have to simplify my full calendar and let some event or other go.

Letting go of plants. Letting go of plans. Letting go of any sort leads to letting go of self.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unusual Edging Plants for the Flower Beds

Callisia fragrans or Basket plant

Those houseplants that i took cuttings from in February, rooted in jars, and potted up in March are now ready to go outdoors. Spider plant and Diamond Frost euphorbia edge my white garden. Callisia and geraniums edge another little flower bed. All these annual bedding plants for free.

One of the qualities of loving-kindness is to be frugal. Another pair of loving-kindness qualities is to be contented and easily satisfied.

These free plants certainly meet the frugal qualification. And i am feeling contented with these lovely and unusual edging plants.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Energy Leaks

People look at my gardens and say, "Where do you get your energy?" I could say, "From the garden." But i could also say, "I've sealed off a bunch of energy leaks." I don't listen to the news. I spend fewer than 2 minutes a day on Facebook. I don't watch TV or videos. I also try not to think and overthink situations in my life. I don't worry. Etcetera.

My friend Evelyn, age 80, tells me that she's thinning out the stuff in her condo. "Every thing, every possession takes energy." O-o-h-h-h. Right. I have several piles of incomplete projects. I glance at each one and feel unpleasant and think Later. This goes on for months and years. My mending basket, for instance. Stacks of photos. Incomplete manuscripts.

Our energy leaks out of our lives, all over the place. Then we are too tired. Then we "don't have enough time" for meditation.

What's the most important thing in your life? What do you love the most? Wouldn't you really rather spend your energy there?

Since the Dharma is the most important thing to me, i had better tend to my Dharma garden.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Rainbow of Potatoes

I planted potatoes yesterday--red, gold, and blue--while the moon is still waning. If you believe in planting by the moon, underground vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, and parsnips, grow better when they are planted in the dark of the moon.

My sweetie hasn't liked potatoes because, he says, "they are starchy." But now that he has a bushel of allergies, potatoes are one of the few vegetables he can eat. That makes me happy: i remain a steadfast lover of potatoes.

I cut up the seed potatoes, leaving 2 eyes in each piece. Then i waited for 24 hours to plant them, eyes up.

Oh, if only we ourselves could "see in dark." The potatoes have to feel their way through the soil. They have no idea what color they are. To them, it makes no difference. For just a moment, can you feel your way through the (scary?) dark and feel the is-ness of life without words or labels?