Tag Archives: garden

Garden Enigma -Part Two

In order to understand what I’m talking about, you need to read this post of mine. Not only it will give you an extensive view of the place, but it will save me also from the trouble of rewriting everything again. 

They say you will only realize the value of something when it is no longer there. In this case, it is true. In someway it is. Garden wise, it truly is. Financial wise, it’s not. But to us, especially to D., The place is still the benchmark. We still miss it. We often talk about the time we were drinking wine and eating tapas in the huge gazebo, sleeping on the loveseat when he came home from work amidst the singing of the birds and buzzing of insects, lighting the firepit during the colder months, taking a nap on the hammock and enjoying the great outdoors in our property right outside our doorsteps. I even wrote some of my articles in the garden. Now, the place is nothing but a distant memory.

How many times we drove there and park just outside the gate nursing the pain in our hearts upon seeing the people who bought it altered the property beyond belief, ripping the period features we cared for and loved replacing them with modern ones that do nothing to enhance the beauty of our once beloved house it looks like a butchered example of those renovations when people failed to successfully marry the old and the new. I saw that the yellow climbing rose I planted next to the front door is still alive and thriving. That baby has grown enormous it almost reached the third-floor window and covered with big blooms. I wonder if they will rip it out too in given time.

They say be careful what you wish for and often times this cliché happened to be true. At least in our case it certainly is. If I could do things all over again you will be surprised when I say I will not alter a single decision I had made that lead us to our current house with the beautiful garden we never use. I have no choice. It was then “take the plunge and swim” or “stay put and drown.”

What would you choose? 

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Peacock Pie

A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.

Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.

And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.

Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.

― Walter de la Mare

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A Garden Enigma

I have a landscaped beautiful garden in my suburban home. Though it is done by a professional, I can’t help adding my personal touch to it, making it the cottage garden I adore and love but on a minimalistic side. There are still lots of blooms, but they are contained in specific spaces. The landscaper planted few key elements in clumps like Hydrangea Macrophylia, Spiraea Japonica ‘golden princess’ Some Buxus clouds by the front door, Choysia Ternata on the side gate and pachysandra terminalis as a ground cover. Oh, there is a lone  Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ at the front. There are also few trees suited for small-ish gardens like Cornus Kousa, Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and a couple of Acers and three others I can’t recognize. I added a lot more since then.

There is a Hydrangea Petiolaris climbing on three poles by the right side of the house and a huge pergola at the very back of the garden covered with Wisteria. Directly by the kitchen door, there is a kitchen garden with three small pear trees and five different sizes of wooden vat planted with Mediterranean herbs. There are Lavander in some corner front and back, hardy Geraniums I can’t kill no matter what, a border of roses and one Hydrangea Quercifolia. Ah, I remember there is a large clump of Liriope muscari ‘Moneymaker’ also, and that was it.

The first thing I did when we moved to the place is to rip out the expensive real looking pseudo turf by the bay window at the front of the house and put a mixed border. You know… Delphinium, Asters; Monarda, Liatris, Phlox, Japanese anemone, ligularia dentata Desdemona and Othelo, Heucheras, Astrantia and such. I planted around the box clouds on the right side the same mix, they are under a small(?) grafted tree I don’t recognize. I think it is some Cherry Laurel on a stick, has white flowers with a subtle smell. The Buxus clouds suffered the heatwave this year so I dug them up and put them under the three towering Acers by the gate to recuperate and replaced them with a mixed border to mirror the left side under the bay window. This time I added Verbena, sedum (I doted them throughout the borders around the house too) Agapanthus, Rudbeckias, and Echinaceas. I added also some Valerian which seeded everywhere since then and bay leaves trees in the kitchen garden.

Did I mention there is an ornamental bubbling pond next to the circular terrace directly outside the bay french window in the living room? When we bought the place (which is a model/show house of excellent quality) there was only one kind of flower around it, Rudbeckia. I planted Echinacea, Verbena, some grasses, creeping sedum, and Crocosmia. D. Had his choice of water plants. No fish. I don’t do annuals unless they self-seed like Digitalis (by far my most favorite flower) forget-me-nots, Marigolds, Cosmos, and this year Hollyhocks because D. Not gardening not interested D. Decided he wants Hollyhocks. 

For all the beauty of the garden and all the hours I put beautifying and tending it we never use it.

I don’t know why.

We have a romantic bistro/Mediterranean inspired powder pink garden set directly next to the kitchen door by the kitchen garden in the view of the pond. There is a complete three-piece lounge set by the pond shaded by a huge umbrella, there is a big wooden bench under the pergola, and there are lounge beds around the garden but like my spare rooms in the house, they are museum pieces. Nobody uses them. I don’t go out in the garden unless to work, nothing else. Our front garden inside the first gate has a place for at least five cars but it is another lost space. Somewhere to traverse from the gate to the front door, that’s it.

I often wonder and ask myself why we don’t go out in the garden to relax. The only thing I could come with is the noise of the busy traffic outside the gate. Something we never anticipated when we bought the place. We heard the noise day and night and we don’t like it. Although there is a lot of space between our house and the actual road and there are double privacy hedges and trees still it’s not relaxing. If I can uproot the house and put it somewhere quiet I already did by now. I am willing to move one last time if I find a place that will make our current residence a second best but seven years of searching brings me nowhere and the longer it takes, the prospect of moving again doesn’t hold the same allure anymore for me. And my condition doesn’t make it easy either. 

I don’t know what we gonna do but in the meantime, I will enjoy (looking at) my garden from behind closed windows.

Next time I will tell you about a garden we do use. 

Intermission

My Wife the Gardener

She dug the plot on Monday –
the soil was rich and fine,
She forgot to thaw out dinner –
so we went out to dine…
She planted roses Tuesday –
she says they are a must,
They really are quite lovely
but she quite forgot to dust.
On Wednesday it was daisies –
they opened up with the sun,
All whites and pinks and yellows –
but the laundry wasn’t done…
The poppies came on Thursday –
a bright and cherry red,
I guess she really was engrossed –
she never made the bed…
It was violets on Friday –
in colours she adores,
It never bothered her at all –
all crumbs upon the floors
I hired a maid on Saturday –
my week is now complete,
My wife can garden all she wants –
the house will still be neat!
It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday –
and I cannot find the maid,
Oh no! I don’t believe it!
She’s out there WITH THE SPADE!

~ Peter (poem in an old magazine via Facebook)

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Prolific

At this time of the year, there are some plants that bloom prolifically as if there is no tomorrow. And rightly so because their days are numbered. They have to put on a show as best as they can for their beauties are transient, ephemeral. Their glory is momentary, their claim to fame is short and sudden. Luckily, they will have another chance to do it again though they have to wait long for it. But what’s another year?        

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Favorite Place

This week, share an image of your happy place, a secret spot you love, or a faraway location you return to again and again.

There is a garden I never failed to visit each year. It is called The Gardens Of Appeltern in The Netherlands. With over 200 show gardens in 200 acres of grounds, it is difficult not to find something to inspire anyone no matter what one’s personal taste might be. The place is teeming with ideas! There is even an island with room for children to play. It gives them something to escape and explore. And for us adults, gardeners or not, there is something new and different to experience and discover around every corner. But what I like the most is the peacefulness, the serenity that the place gives me. It is possible here to be alone amidst other visitors because there is always some quiet corner you can retreat to if you need to be on your own for a while. I love the place. I love their motto. 

“A garden should be one of the pleasures that make life more comfortable, a place where you can relax, work, play, be together with others and enjoy all the good and healthy things in life. A garden is one of the prime necessities of life, a place where you will be happy to spend your time.”

Unfurl

Emotional intelligence is growing as a recognizable and useful skill.

A step in developing emotional intelligence is learning how to identify and relate with people who are not awakened to their own emotional state and expressions. Emotional insecurity is common with people who do not recognize, see or value subtle sensitivities.

When attempting to be open-hearted with an emotionally insecure individual, they have core predictable responses. The stories will change, yet these energetic-attitude patterns are observable beneath the words.

My perspective of emotional security rests in a person’s inability to accept how another person feels, experiences life, and exists. The emotionally insecure person is challenged by existential differences.

This list of personal experiences reflects my insight, both as a person who feels insecure at times, and who relates with and loves people who also have insecurities. These are not judgments about a person’s character, yet identifying personality patterns can turn an old fight into a new response.

1. Defensiveness.

A person who is under attack and feels pressured will be defensive. It is a natural response for every person and just because a person is feeling defensive doesn’t make them emotionally insecure.

The reason a person becomes defensive is because emotions tap into identity and self-esteem. Without an awareness and capacity to operate with emotions, the emotional realm and its expression and languages are frightening.

Frightened people respond in two ways, either running from or fighting with the trigger. It takes time to see and operate securely with emotions and sensitivities.

Emotional insecurity is identified when a person is so defensive they are unable to hear or accept differences of any degree. Even everyday, scientifically provable facts can become a point of contention. When it comes to differences in feelings the mere presence of emotion and feeling can trigger the defensive reaction.

This entire list is varieties of defensive responses.

2. Redirection.

The emotionally insecure person will redirect blame, fault or mistake back onto the person who brings legitimate concerns.

In a secure relationship, all topics of conversation are open for discussion. Asking for clarification or bringing up a personal point or perspective remains a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, attempts to communicate become the cause for conflict and separation.

When a person does not feel safe emotionally, redirection can be a powerful tool for not owning one’s own participation and never having to take responsibility.

3. Misdirection & Storytelling.

Similar to redirection, misdirection takes responsibility and places it on an object or circumstance rather than the person bringing the concern.

Whether it was the booze, the full moon, astrological birth sign, or childhood event, misdirection blinds a person to what is happening in the moment. Even when there is legitimacy in the misdirection, it becomes a way to not hear and see the person as they are showing up, now.

Even legitimate, truthful reasons can be used for hiding emotionally.

Just because something happened in the past and influenced this moment does not make it the cause or thing that needs to be discussed. In talking about the past and over-analyzing what a person shares, the individual and the opportunity to deepen relationship are missed.

Rather than looking at what is really happening and being communicated, the cause remains unaddressed. A lot of endless, circular talking happens until one person takes responsibility and acts from their own center.

4. Comparison.

Just because people or circumstances are similar, comparison confuses the real issue. Rather than hearing and seeing a person or issue plainly, a filter is added. This creates confusion.

A son is not just like his father, a daughter is not just like her mother. People of any ethnicity, age, background, though similar, are completely individual and unique. The new person in one’s life is not just like an old, even if there are common points. Not all Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Discordians are the same. Each is an individual.

Reality is totally missed when framing a person as “just like so and so” or taking a situation and saying “its just like this other time.”

They aren’t just like so and so.

And this moment has never happened before and never will again happen.

5. Invalidation.

Subtle and pernicious, invalidation strikes at a person’s emotional, existential core.

Invalidation makes a person wrong for feeling how they feel. The emotionally insecure person, incapable of working with and coping with their own emotions, invalidates and puts down whoever is attempting to communicate.

The most damaging of emotional defensive patterns, invalidation can be difficult to recognize.

“You are being too sensitive.” is the battle cry of invalidation. Its variations mock and undermine a person’s subtle perceptions of reality and relationships with other people.

Invalidation is difficult to communicate with words, it happens as a feeling. The result of invalidation is the loss of trust and security. It can happen quickly and without warning, often unintentionally with careless words.

A person knows when it happens, yet often times cannot recognize what has happened until after the experience.

While recognizing emotional insecurity is one step, learning to relate and navigate the effects of emotional insecurity takes time. It’s a learned skill dependent on self-knowledge. How a person relates to their own self, operating with their own emotional nature, is the foundation, attitude and exact same relationship style shared with other people. Learning to relate with emotional insecurity with others first depends on how one relates to it within, first.

The greatest challenge there is how a person treats their own self when feeling emotionally insecure. The dynamic and internal dialogue are the relationship traits one lives daily within and without.

There is no quick fix for emotional insecurity. It is normal. Self-knowledge remains the cure.

“And God said “Love Your Enemy,” and I obeyed him and loved myself.” ~ Khalil Gibran

Relephant: Via Keith Artisan

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