Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Plant Triage

Lantana smells like guava.
It's time to pot up the tender plants i have growing in my gardens that i'd like to bring inside for the winter--a flowering maple, lemon grass. lantana. Next week, begonias and geraniums.

I could call it triage. Which plants shall i save? And which shall i let perish?

It's important to triage my daily activities. Otherwise, i would be even busier than i am. Yesterday, i had to leave 3 meetings early in order to get to the next one. That is called "too busy."

I sort my activities into the most important: meditation, Dharma, Bill, writing. Then come the gardens. Whoops, exercise has to fit in here somewhere.

Triage means letting some less important things go. Often, things that seem urgent--like the phone ringing--are not really that important. Rather than answer the phone, often i prefer to listen to (or better yet, read) my voicemail.

Bringing tender plants indoors so i can tend them all winter long.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Light at the end of the Tunnel

Going to writing group today, i walked down a long dark hall with a pot of white mums sitting near the end. Just seeing those flowers made me want to walk toward them.

My 93-year-old hospice client tells me she has been "in the tunnel" twice. She could see the light at the end of the tunnel coming closer and closer. She had no fear then, and she says she is not afraid of death now. In fact, she's sort of curious to see what's on the other side.

Her grumpy sister died a year ago and came to her in a dream. "It's not what you think," said her sister, smiling.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Walk to the Garden

I walk to the garden
To harvest vegetables.
I return with a full basket,

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Perennial Ageratum

My local garden group, Perennial Swappers, toured my fall garden this evening. It's the last swap and tour of the season. Hard to believe, since it was 85 degrees today.

I still have lots of color in my garden. In addition to purple asters, white sanguisorba, and pink turtlehead (chelone), i have lots of perennial ageratum giving a sweep of color to several flowerbeds.

My Hoosier cousin, Jeana, gave me a single start of this ageratum a few years ago. Thanks to her generosity, i share big clumps of this ageratum with five or six of my friends every September.

Generosity is one of the foundations of gardening. I give plants to people. People give plants to me. This evening Ruth brought me a double white trillium.

Generosity is one of the foundations of our spiritual practice. Let go. Give.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hummingbird Moth

The hummingbirds flew south a couple of weeks ago, but hummingbird moths are still whizzing around flowers, drinking and pollinating.

The larvae of the hummingbird moth feed on honeysuckle, viburnum, hawthorn, snowberry, cherry, mint, and plum--all of which i have.

This evening, the hummingbird moth was dining on sweet-smelling nicotiana. Its wings beat as fast as a hummingbird's wings, and it zooms around from flower to flower, just like a hummingbird.

Even though the moth has absolutely no relationship to the bird, some of their habits, and their habitat, are very similar.

Each of us came into this life with particular habits of mind, which are strengthened or weakened by our family and the friends we spend time with. By this time on our spiritual path, we want to be careful who we spend our time with because we want to develop wholesome and admirable qualities.

The hummingbird moth drinks sweetness from the flowers. May we ourselves drink in the sweetness of kindness and gratitude.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Easter LIly is Blooming

Every Easter, my sweetie brings home a lily from his church. Every May, i plant the dead brown plant in my white garden. And now, 2 Easter lilies have resurrected themselves near my front door. Joy!

In our meditation practice, we keep planting ourselves on the cushion (or chair). Sometimes our practice feels old and dry. We have to be creative to infuse our practice with a new fragrance.

And then, it blooms.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Jungle of a Tomato Vine

I planted one sungold cherry tomato plant behind a stone wall, hoping it would grow over the wall and trail down on the sunny side. Indeed, it's beyond my wildest dreams. The tomato vine covers almost the entire six-foot high, eight-feet wide wall. It's a jungle. That's a lot of tomato vines from one plant!

When we plant ourselves on a single spiritual path--rather than experimenting with many--our practice can overtake our life and bear a lot of fruit.

I'm going to be harvesting sungold tomatoes until first frost in mid-October.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Late Bloomer

Heptacodium aka seven sons tree is blooming now. Now! In September! Right now this ten-foot-tall ornamental tree is full of white flowers. When they fall off in a couple of weeks, bright pink sepals remain well into October.

Even this late in the season, heptacodium is blooming. Even in the autumn of our lives, we too can bloom by focusing on the Dharma.

No matter whether we are a late bloomer or an early bloomer, we can bloom where we are planted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

Milkweed has shown up in one of my flowerbeds that i use for cut flowers. Two weeks ago, i was pulling out the milkweeds when i spotted 3 one-inch-long caterpillars. I stopped pulling milkweed.

Today, i can officially say a monarch butterfly caterpillar is munching milkweed leaves.

Milkweed, which is a pest to me, is home to the caterpillars that metamorphose into monarch butterflies.

Aversion, the number one weed in my mental garden, is the catalyst that keeps my attention on the ease of the Dharma.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sunflower Bouquet

My neighbor's mother is dying. While i was on vacation last week, my neighbor, Dee, came over and cut some sunflowers from my gardens to take to her mother, who hasn't eaten for days. I feel so happy that Dee made herself at home in my flowerbeds and felt free enough to simply take what she needed.

I let go of flowers.
Dee is letting go of her mother.
Dee's mother is letting go of life.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Green Beans Galore

The green beans i planted in May yielded about three plants. What did i expect from 10-year-old seeds? So i re-planted green beans two months ago, in the middle of July. I now have a bumper crop of green beans.

Just in time. My sweetie who loves broccoli is so tired of eating broccoli from my 40 broccoli plants that green beans are a welcome sight.

These late beans are a good example of the fall garden. We can have a spring garden, a summer garden, and a fall garden. Usually, i don't get around to planting fall crops, but this year i was inspired by my neighbor. If she can do it, i can do it. And the green beans did it!

It's never too late to plant ourselves in meditation. We might have a spring garden of college and beginning our career, and then a summer garden of marriage and family. I missed that season myself and went straight to the fall garden of following my spiritual path. Let me tell you, the yield of that spiritual garden is bountiful. Just like these late green beans.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Meditative Gardener is in Idaho this week

The Meditative Gardener is in Sandpoint, Idaho this week.
I'll return to this blog on September 12.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sun-Drying Grape Tomatoes

I'm home for one week, in between vacations. Last week i was camping on Lake Champlain. Next week, i'm visiting my sister in the Idaho panhandle. So this week, the pressure is on, not only to harvest, but also to do something with the harvest.

I'm sundrying cherry tomatoes. I grow the grape tomatoes, specifically for drying. They're good size, and they're meaty. And they make a good hostess gift for my sister and for her Italianesque daughter-in-law.

These "tomato chips" are packed with tomato flavor and the flavor of generosity.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Zucchini Plants Have Died

The zucchini plants are dead, a whole row of them. Even though, i might say, "Finally!" i also feel sad. Zucchini season is over. Summer is ending. September has arrived.

The plants had been aging quickly, perhaps due to the drought, these past couple of weeks. And now kaput.

So, let me have a memorial service for zucchini. We harvested a handful every day for about 6 weeks. And gave them away like crazy. Bill took a basketful to his Sunday church and another basketful to his Wednesday evening church. I took a basket of zucchini wherever i went and handed them out. Did you know there are actually people who do not grow zucchini? Hard to believe, but thank goodness. These were the people who were happy to receive a zucchini or two. Oh, zucchini. You made so many people so happy.