Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Garden Update: Bursting Forth and Bittersweet

I’ve been so busy with sessions and house hunting, which makes this season’s Dance of Spring a little bittersweet. The literally thousands of bulbs I’ve planted as recently as last Autumn have begun their smiling jigs and Sufi swirls. I still contend that this circle of miniature daffodils I planted around our North Star Cherry tree, visible from the stairwell’s window, was one of the very best gifts I’ve ever given myself:


You can also see the chives poking through as they prepare to bloom in the season of alliums, while the Elfin Thyme ground cover awaits warmer weather.

As David and I view property after property, I continue to move through a mix of emotions, realizing that I likely will not have this large a yard or this type of garden again. I’ve poured so much time, money and love into these yards, initially to offset the oppressive ugliness around our first house, but then gradually transforming and taking over the adjacent house and yard. This little segment of Goshen blooms from March through November, a honeybee and butterfly haven, squirrel and rabbit paradise, and a massive harvest of food and flowers for humans, too.

The garden has been my best local friend and baby while David poured so much energy into helping his parents. It cheered me when I returned last year after helping my own parents as my father passed and I spent two months moving my mom from their house of thirty years into a beautifully feng shui’d and tailored just for her new home. The garden has fed countless neighbors and students, friends, and family members as they’ve visited. It’s provided garlic, tea, and herbs for faraway friends and family, and David’s mom receives 35-40 bouquets a year. Our produce has fed people we don’t even know at a local food bank and soup kitchen. I’ve provided flowers and lodging for memorial services, plant starts for other gardeners, and I’ve hosted garden tours and taught others how to permaculture their own yards. The garden has served as my connection point and calling card in an area with few receptors for my other gifts.

Most importantly for me, the yard became an enormous canvas, welcoming my designs and colors, feeding my soul, allowing this artist to run wild, and rewarding me with feasts for all the senses. Everyone keeps saying, “How can you leave your garden?” “You’ll miss your garden,” and until this weekend, I didn’t really think I would. I love it, but it’s a ton of work, sometimes quite literally! It’s great exercise, and I will always have some kind of edible ornamental garden and perhaps experiment with more bio-intensive gardening on a much smaller scale with better soil. But for so many reasons, I know that I will not repeat these yards.

As with any good permaculture project, the design suits not only the land itself, but its surroundings and uses. In Goshen, I wanted and needed a time sink. I loved the education, but I also loved how much time the gardens took to design, create, implement and tend. With few distractions of interest to me and very little Nature, Goshen provided the perfect intensive immersion course in restoration permaculture, land healing, and digging deeper inside myself than I ever realized I could go. This Underworld Initiation was all consuming. It informed my work, as well as my own healing, perspective, politics and spirituality. It will certainly inform my writing. But it has served its purpose. For me. For us. We know it’s time to leave and shift and grow in different directions.

When we move, I’ll focus much more on writing, traveling and teaching classes. I want some fruit and nut trees, lots of flowers (of course), and a more elegant looking landscape filled with surprising edibles. I want attractive hardscaping, and I challenge myself to sneak permaculture principles into a much more traditional looking landscape. I look forward to the new design, which will completely depend on the new location, as yet unknown except that we will have a new location. We shall see. I feel excited about the prospects of a totally new design opportunity and goals, and I know this next phase will provide so much joy and so many rewards for me and especially so for David.

But yes, I will miss my Goshen garden. Here’s some late March beauty, likely the last I’ll experience in these yards and houses:




To all the Faeries, Elves, Devas and Spirits of the Land, I honor you. I urge you to become a beacon to your new human caretakers, as we transition from this sacred ground.

To all the Faeries, Elves, Devas and Spirits of the next Land, I honor you. Please welcome us. Make known your desire to work and play with us. Summon us. Provide the vision. Open the way.

With deepest blessings and love …


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