The summer solstice (June 21) has just passed and I thought it fitting to mark the turning of the seasons. Summer is my favourite season of the year, a joyful time of long days spent outdoors soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the bounty of crops as they come into fruition. However, having just visited the desert, I now understand firsthand how for some of you, summer is a difficult if not brutal season that is spent indoors. For that reason I’ve tried to keep this one open-ended so that you can approach it however you choose.
Grow Write Guild Prompt #7: Write about one plant that is currently in bloom.
Further Notes & Questions:
- Go outside and look at your garden right now. What is in bloom? Choose one plant and write about it.
- You don’t have to choose a bloom that you like. For something different, try writing about a flower that you don’t like.
- Don’t feel compelled to teach us anything if you don’t want to. Simply write about your experiences with that plant.
- From where did you get the plant?
- How does the colour of the flower make you feel?
- Take a photograph or draw a picture to accompany your post.
I’m thinking about landscapes this week as I prepare to go on a roadtrip through two — possibly three (we’ll see how far we get) North American deserts. I’ve always been drawn to the desert. When I think of this landscape I think of big skies, stars that touch the ground, magic, and grit. Perhaps it has something to do with how vastly different it is from the landscape around my home. The grass is always greener, or errr… dryer. It’s so contrary to our wetlands and forests that I can’t help but approach it with a strong feeling of respect, awe, and intense curiosity.
Speaking of which… there is also something to be said about the landscapes of our memory. For example, I spent the bulk of my childhood living next to a fallow brownfield located behind a derelict suburban shopping plaza. As a result, I have an enduring soft spot for fallow fields and overgrown parking lots where nature is in a wild clash with human “progress.” Even now I can see where aspects of this wildness has crept into the way I approach my own gardens and the plants weeds) that volunteer themselves each year.
One rainy Saturday morning six years ago I was kicked out of my apartment while a camera crew was there filming an interview with Davin. With nothing to do and no real direction, I found myself headed towards my community garden plot, which was then just a few blocks away. The garden was (and still is) an almost secret place tucked between an alley, the railroads tracks, and a beer store.
The documentary crew had been following me around for a few days and I was feeling contemplative and grateful for an hour of solitude to be alone with my thoughts. I didn’t have any work to do at the garden (a rarity) so I strolled around slowly, looking at little things. Eventually I caught myself standing still, just listening. I had never done that before. Here in the city we are always surrounded by sound and I think one of the ways we adapt to the constant assault on our senses is by tuning things out as if we are wearing earmuffs. The first sound I caught was the rhythmic, almost soothing hum of the beer store refrigerators. I had spent countless hours working in the garden and had never noticed the sound before. I heard car tires over pavement in the parking lot and the sound of car doors slamming. I heard a train zooming past, drowning out all other sounds for a minute. And then, when it got far enough away I heard crickets, small insects, people yelling, and my friend the mockingbird that often sits on a tower over the tracks imitating other birds and other sounds it picks up along the tracks.
The Oxford dictionary defines a mentor as, “an experienced and trusted adviser” and a muse as “…the source of inspiration for a creative artist.”
Many gardeners have someone in their life, be it a family member, close friend, colleague, or a public figure to whom they have looked for gardening guidance, knowledge, inspiration, and/or influence. They make you think differently about your garden. They inspire you to try harder and do better. They teach by example. Their work has influenced some of the choices you’ve made in your garden over the years.