Gardening in Winter
As of late, I have been remiss in my blog postings. Distracted, swept along by the sheer flood of news surrounding Trump, his family and associates, I struggle to clear the space to write about the importance of maintaining gratitude.
It’s not that I don’t think about it. I do. After 119 posts, I wonder what is new that I can offer on this subject. Subjects have varied; but the essence, that of mindful attention, is consistent. Sameness, order, a sense of reliability has its benefits.
It turns out I garden all year long— if not in reality, in fantasy. This time of year, when any day can be cloudy and damp, snowy or sunny I attend to my indoor garden of houseplants. For added fun, I pour over plant pictures in a gardening catalogue and plan my spring garden.
This year, I decided to experiment and bring a shaggy but still blooming petunia pot in for the winter. Five months later, to my surprise, as you can see from the picture above, the plant has filled out and continues to bloom. I check it every day. Every few weeks, I place the plant in my kitchen sink, spray it with water, and fertilize. Indoor plants, especially those that bloom, are subject to white fly. Once a month, I spray it with Neem, to hold off the bugs.
Today, I was rewarded with a full array of bright purple petunia blooms and two yellow brachcolla blooms. The process, mindful attention to the health of my plants, makes me smile. I poke my finger into the soil and test for moisture. I scan the leaves for changes or invaders. Green growth is soothing and calming. The surprise mauve African violet bud lifting its head is delightful. The connection to nature is obvious but the close at hand encounter is what is most meaningful to me.
The contrast of watching an African violet bud unfold in contrast to the chaos of our political structure feels profound. In my own home, I am able to create beauty and order as I attend to the needs of each plant.
But not everyone is a gardener or inclined to caring for houseplants. The challenge in maintaining a sense of gratitude is to notice. I believe that everyday, there are opportunities to feel uplifted by the experience of kindness and of beauty, as well as an appreciation of one’s own effort and/or the effort of others.
For myself, my roots to gardening go back to my Dad who dug the soil and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, radishes and peppers during WW II in our fenced back yard. He was a creature of habit, very disciplined and taught me well about the importance of noticing and attending. As soon as I had a little tiny plot of earth in my first condo, I planted petunias next to the steps. I recall the joy of making a difference in the aesthetic quality of entering my space. I felt a surge of gratitude then and after, again and again, as I maintain an effort at generativity such as with the seeds I scatter in this post.