ELIZABETH RYLAND MEARS

Garden

Tending a garden pulls one into the natural cycle of time.

Grandmother always had a "cutting garden" wherein grew a myriad of flowering species in every hue of an artist's palette. The place was alive with smells, sights, and the sounds of honeybees busily about their life's work. Each morning she lovingly arranged a new bouquet of nature's bounty. I was included in the gathering of the treasure, as she cut the stems and laid them in my awaiting arms. The house was surrounded by hollyhocks, lilies of the valley, and flowering red bud and dogwood. It was an enchanted place.

My father's gardening included more vegetables than flowers, as his father's had; however, from his green thumb grew a plethora of African violets, and now orchids, to grace my growing up place. My daughter is a Master Gardener.

My own gardens abound with perennials. Anticipating the emergence of green as winter changes to spring, watching as some plants bloom and wither while others are only emerging, having the company of brown stalks rustling in the dead of winter: each is a part of my relationship to and love of growing things.

Tending my small part of the earth, with its growing, changing dynamics, is soul feeding nourishment for living a creative life.

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