The Possibilities of a New SeasonĀ 

Warm, spring-like temperatures today lured me into the backyard garden. Donning an old long sleeved t-shirt, a ball cap, jeans and a pair of sneakers, I escaped into my personal paradise, excited about the first official work-in-the-garden day, for 2017. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
During the winter, the garden slumbers, in a rather messy but comfortable bed. The ornamental grasses turn brown but remain standing tall along the privacy fence. The flowers and herbs go to sleep too, their dry leaves rattling in the breeze. There is a certain wild beauty to the winter garden, and I still enjoy walking the paths or gazing out the window at it or sitting within its embrace, in a patch of sunshine, sipping on tea. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
But oh the joy as the days grow longer and the sunshine more abundant. I can feel the garden beginning to stir, waking from its deep sleep. I know that soon green shoots will appear, the harbingers of spring and riots of colorful blooms. 

Before that happens, I must prepare the garden, cleaning away debris and last year’s dead leaves, cutting the ornamental grasses back to the ground, and tidying up the beds and containers. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
The primary task today was to trim back the ornamental grasses…seven of them…all of which became massive last year. I have an electric trimmer, ideal for this job. However, it is still challenging to get to the base of the grass clump, to cut the stalks down. 

Greg is a master at MacGyverizing (creating ingenious inventions, especially in desperate situations, named for TV character MacGyver, who was gifted with this ability). Sizing up the situation, he used a heavy duty black net to wrap around the grass clump, effectively holding the stalks upright and out of the way. 

Although I cut down a couple of the clumps, it was easier for me to hold onto the netting, pulling the grasses to the side, as Greg cut at the base. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
The Possibilities of a New Season
Low wind conditions and the handy fire pit made it ideal to burn the grasses and other plant debris as we worked. Out of the picture was the garden hose, water turned on, in case it was needed. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
The Possibilities of a New Season
An unexpected break was called when the power trimmer quit working. Greg switched electrical cords and the trimmer worked for me, for a few minutes, then quit again. Puzzled, Greg inspected the trimmer and the cords. Both cords had been cut, one completely in two! In my trimming frenzy, I apparently cut through my source of power…twice.

I am grateful that Greg was able to repair the cords, so work could continue, and that he had a sense of humor about my mishap! 

The Possibilities of a New Season
The Possibilities of a New Season
Amazingly, the whole backyard garden got tidied up today. With Greg’s help, and properly working tools, I made more progress than I expected to. What joy there was in being outside on such a gorgeous sunny day. The garden truly is my happy place. Peace surrounds me there, and beauty. 

I found evidence of the garden awakening. Beneath dead foliage and layers of mulch, bright green shoots are appearing. Always open to lessons while in my backyard paradise, I recognized that I, like the plants in my garden, thrive best when clutter and deadness are cleared away. The plants can grow, I can grow, when the environment supports us, giving us space to expand and nutrients that nourish and light to illuminate us. 

The Possibilities of a New Season
The Possibilities of a New Season
I realized something else. Creativity isn’t always about sketching or writing or crafting. Repurposing doesn’t always look like a metal bucket holding fragrant purple flowers. Sometimes creativity is practical. And repurposing looks like a black net wrapped around a tall clump of grasses. 

I am full of gratitude for a day spent in the garden, for great accomplishments and for practical creativity. Special thanks to Greg for giving his time willingly and for teaching me a new way to look at art, robustly. 

Kate Morton wrote, “It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of a new season.” 

I felt those possibilities today. And I am full of anticipation. 

The Possibilities of a New Season

Surrender 49: Creating a Little Chaos of My Own

With the temperatures reaching a high of 77 degrees today, I totally surrendered to the call of the outdoors. Such a gorgeous day in February was an exciting gift, one I couldn’t wait to unwrap and enjoy. Donning old clothes, gloves, and my straw gardening hat, I sauntered into the warm sunshine and started the process of tidying up the flower and herb gardens surrounding the house. 

 

My priority this afternoon was to cut back the tall grasses, still standing golden and tasseled in a variety of beds. I use a wonderful electric hedge trimmer to accomplish this task more easily. The clumps of decorative grass are cut down to six inches, to allow the new green stalks to appear and grow. 

 
Greg arrived, after a day of playing golf, just as I started working in the yard. He graciously offered his help! Between the two of us, the grasses were quickly cut back. Piling arm loads of stalks onto the brickio, I inhaled the fresh earthy scent of the dried grasses. I was reminded of the hay that my daughter Elissa used to toss into the horse stalls at feeding time. 

  
The trimmer was great at cutting back dry herbs too, and I caught the aroma of lemon grass, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, Russian sage and thyme. With wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour today, and a burn ban in effect, I didn’t start a fire in the fire pit. When the wind calms down I’ll burn the grasses and dried herbs in the fire pit, creating a unique outdoor potpourri that smells so wonderfully fragrant. 

 

The surprise this afternoon was discovering that my garden is already stirring from its winter slumber. The weather has been mild, with very few extremely cold days. The grasses, lemon balm and day lilies are pushing tender green shoots through the soil. The clematis has new growth appearing. And the lilac bush is budding. I realize it is unseasonably warm today, and there’s likely to be more cold days coming, but I’m hoping for an early spring. My heart filled with joy, seeing green in the garden today. 

 

I have more to do in the gardens the next few days, while the warm temperatures linger. It already looks differently after today’s labor…trimmed back, messy, bare…and poised to explode soon with every shade of green and riotous color.  I was so inspired recently by the movie A Little Chaos, as the gardeners in that film brought beauty forth from a wild and tangled plot of land. A bit of Eden was created, that contained both order and chaos. I deeply identify with that creative urge, to bring lush, abundant life from the ground that both pleases the eye, and the soul, and astounds them. I too am creating a bit of Eden…a little chaos and wildness of my own. This is paradise found, surely.