A garden party

Thanks so much for having a virtual cuppa with me yesterday, and listening. Your words meant an awful lot.

spiky 2

Confession: I can never resist having a garden party every year about this time. 

Indoors.

Shari and Kelly

I bring into the laundry room all of my houseplants that need tending—trimming, repotting, dividing, and miscellaneous TLC—and then I start digging. A delightful small comrade joins me, and begs to do it herself. But I say We will do it together.

Kelly's hands

This is the purest of therapy for me, a little green oasis that will last me till spring.

african violet

I plant freshly-rooted stems into rich soil.

small pots

I upscale the spider plants that have outgrown their old lodgings.

Shari planting

(My husband comes in and starts shooting photos. I know; I’m not really dressed for potting plants, but I have a coffee break with a friend to slip in there. And I figure it all washes.)

I start garden seeds.

seeds

(Did I tell you we have a new camera? It’s amazing. Now we have to learn how to use it.)

(And no, this will not become a photo blog. Except for this post and maybe a few others I don’t know about yet.)

I pull off dead leaves and work up packed soil.

I mix and match colors—a central spike with purple Wandering Jew.

I savor the contrasts—daintiest shamrock flowers,

shamrock flowers

spikey cactus things whose name escapes me.

spiky 1

Most of these plants were gifts from people I love, for a birthday or a death or an exchange or a friendship. I remember their names in my heart as I work, and I say them to myself.

peace lily

My sister gave me the handsomest peace lily I’ve ever seen. The card says “He is safe. And someday you will hold him…” My heart broke a couple of weeks ago, and though I cannot bring myself to speak of it much just yet, I cannot help bumping into its edges: I have joined the women who have unborn babies with Jesus.

I put the peace lily into an enormous crock from my grandma. It is perfect.

metal planter

I replace all of my metal planters, or line them with plastic. I love the look of metal pots, especially antique pails salvaged from here and there, but I have had terrible success with growing plants in them. One plant got all spotted and died off, though it grew back in perfect health from its own roots when moved to another pot. Another developed leaf irritation where it touched the edges of the planter. Can this be this so?

leaf damage

I tell my son, Gardening is like art. It may not turn out exactly like you had in mind, but it’s going to be beautiful.

Yes, this is my hope.

plant 2

If you are local, I’d love to swap starts with you… Do you see something you like?

Two-sided living

So much to celebrate, so much to mourn. Here’s something I’ve been formulating this week, still in embryo stage.

***

What does growth look like from up above?

Oh look look!

A wisp of green

A sprout, a shoot!

Twin baby petals, lushly dainty

Unfolding miracle

Pulsing life

And the color!

The radiant, vibrant, thirst-quenching color

Delicate tendrils

Elegant shape

This is how growth looks from up above.

 

What does growth look like from down below?

All this greening comes at a price

The desperate straining

Reaching upward, panicked for air

Oppressed by layers without

Torn by strivings within

Yearning for light

There must be more!

Put out a root

Groaning and travail

The stretching

And shattering

The reaching inward for depleted resources

All that I have tried to hold together is crumbling around me

 

This is how growth looks from down below.