One of the great pleasures of gardening for me is the delicious food I grow. From seed to harvest, I control what goes into these beauties, and food I grow myself always tastes better than anyone else’s. Growing my own food almost always ensures I’ll have extras to share. It’s a good feeling to drop off a load of excess tomatoes and squash at my local food bank, or gift a foodie friend with a taste she will never otherwise enjoy.
Attracting pollinators makes sense when you’re trying to grow food requiring pollination, but I work hard to create habitat that’s inviting to a diversity of creatures. From butterflies:
and even the occasional wild turkey.
All are welcome on my five-acre patch of Piedmont.
I am not handy with a needle and thread, paintbrush, potter’s wheel, or any other artist’s tool. But I think we all share the urge to create beauty. Of course, I’m not really the creator of this magic, but I like to think of myself as a collaborator. I work hard to put the right plant in the right place, ensuring that every addition has the best chance possible to thrive and be beautiful.
For the Surprises
The little guy above was enjoying unseasonably mild temperatures yesterday, catching a few rays on the dark wall of my garage. I confess seeing a little head poking out at me from beneath the siding startled me a bit. Most of the surprises are courtesy of the creatures with whom I share my space.
Surprises bring out the child in me, the wonder of finding something new and unexpected, like a Luna Moth:
a Rainbow Scarab:
or a Snapping Turtle lumbering across the floodplain in search of a good spot to lay her eggs.
Each discovery makes me giggle like a girl, delighted to greet an unexpected wonder during my wanderings around the yard.
Plunging my hands into fragrant, loamy earth centers me. Coaxing seeds in flats in the greenhouse during chilly late winter days ties me to the coming growing season while winds howl and frozen ground crunches beneath my feet.
For Reassurance through the Constancy of Change
Staying close to the cycles of the earth, from spring’s fresh enthusiasm:
to summer’s overwhelming productivity:
to autumn’s glorious farewell displays:
to winter’s quiet, meditative landscapes.
I am immersed in Life’s cycles, making it easier for me to remember that even the most horrible acts of mankind will not stop the Earth’s turning, the green growing. Life overcomes and persists. Sunrises follow sunsets. I am comforted by the changing constancy that surrounds me.
The longest night approaches. Tomorrow’s sunrise will bring our shortest day, as the solstice ushers in Winter’s light. As a gardener, I know this dark, cold season is as necessary to the Green World as springtime.
Embrace the darkness, my friends. Tomorrow marks the return of lengthening days and the promise of spring songs and flowers. Meanwhile, enjoy the beauty that only a winter sunrise can offer.