Sunflowering

To garden can mean to learn, to cultivate, to share and to wonder, or is that wander?  Today I’m going with wander, a visit elsewhere and a chance to learn from the vision of others – this can be a lifetime of inquiry.

Today we sought out the sheer joy of Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, whose eternal optimism has blooms turning to face the sun and then following it all the way to nightfall.  Might be a lesson here.

You just don’t walk up to a sunflower, you lean into the field with a smile to match its bold declaration of summer. Set against a blue and cloudy sky, well, perfection! 

A great source of oil and seed for hungry birds and furred varmints, we’re enjoying seeing more of the plant in this area near Ottawa. In this case, an invite to walk through acres of nodding blooms while considering a donation to a farm that harbours animals in need of a home, was an invitation to bliss. Blue skies, acres and acres of yellow, and help for other creatures on the planet – it was perfect.

Although a week day, it was high vacation time and the distraction needs of the pandemic resulted in the parking lot being full but the expansiveness of the land gave us more than enough room to roam safely. What fun to know we could be together, apart, and enjoy a day puncuated by the giggles and laughter of children.

How will this botanic moment mark those that walked this trail and got up close with such beauty? Will yellow become a favourite colour, a seed be planted? We know the rich history of being influenced by the nature around us. Through time, artists have drawn on this botanical beauty and been inspired to inspire us! Think of Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers which have brought me to tears in the middle of a museum in Amsterdam, or pause to ponder “Ah! Sunflower” by William Blake connecting life’s journey and aspiration.

Ah, Sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun;

Seeking after that sweet golden clime,

Where the traveller’s journal done;

Where the youth pined away with desire,

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,

Arise from their graves, and aspire

Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake

In this dark year with the shoulder-bending burden of pandemic concerns and hope for a return to normalcy, however defined, taking a few moments to just be is a necessity. A plant that bends to face the light – the wonder of positive phototropism – is primal behaviour to learn from and to shake a skewed perspective to rights. For now.

The Scope of a Garden

A pandemic time is full of its own challenges, and unknowns, but add to it a long, dry period, well, the soul can take a dive no matter how much the mind tries to remain focused on what is known.

Welcome to my interpretation of what a garden is.  Beyond the blooms, shrubs, trees, and weeds outside, I see “garden” as a concept encompassing a creative life, interesting people now and then, daily musings, the challenges that lurk and the joys of everyday adventure and wonder.  Welcome to my garden and I hope we have much in common.

What a shock to know this thought has churned out in this COVID year when few really know what the future holds or how the present should play out.  Ah well, dive in!

Today is a green day.  Feels like a celebration as the recent rains which filled our barrels with hope, that have caused the grass and clover to return, has also tempered our moods – ok, tempered my mood.  Have you needed to find a focus everyday or have you structured in an order?  I’m finding that one plant might be enough to look at each morning and to wonder about the scope of its existence and place in a greater whole.  Sounds like a refrain from each of our own thoughts these days – at least with a plant, barring something unforeseen – oh like appropriate care – it has a pre-ordained cycle to follow which makes it wonderous!

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Case in point is this violet/blue water flower that surprised me this week – the leaves of this Common Water Hyacinth, Pontederia crassipes, in our small front pond (pondlet really) had me smiling as soon as I spotted it.  Also made me wonder how something so gorgeous could possibly be refered to as “common”.  Harumph.

A pandemic time is full of its own challenges, and unknowns, but add to it a long, dry period, well, the soul can take a dive no matter how much the mind tries to remain focused on what is known.

There was a whisper of water not far away.  It grew in gushes of relief as the clouds swept over the field in front of the house, a field where the silver maples were sighing as they gave up dried leaves. The time of the heat was taking a pause and there was a private celebration played out in every house, every heart.

Think of it as a massive mood broom sweeping away the cobwebs of temperature that clogged and claimed the brain.  A massive broom that put green back where it should be – on the plants, the grass, the soul.