Although we see new growth and constant transformation in our little plots week after week, month after month, come July, Mother Nature’s accelerated pace becomes awe inspiring, if a bit overwhelming. Growth seems out of control. Everything’s taller and bushier every day; you get excited about the first bud of a flower and next time you look the whole thing is in bloom; then weeds of course grow faster than everything else…. I stand there a bit stunned, moment of truth for my grand garden design from early spring: some of the new seeds barely came out, hesitantly, plants that were supposed to be 2-3 feet tall are now my height, while older plants have been reseeding themselves happily all over, popping up wherever they please: cosmos and lupines everywhere, strawberry shoots in the middle of plant clusters. I have a hard time saying no to those precious seedlings so I am always trying to regroup and re-plan around them, giving up my big plan, embracing the new and just enjoying the beauty and incredible growth all around the garden.
At the end of the day, I feel like gardening is a constant lesson in awe - I think we’re here to learn from nature, enjoy it and adapt around it, not the other way round.
So what’s awesome and awe-inspiring in our garden this week?
Monarda! Rebellious and proud, like a queen holding court with a swarm of bees around, monarda used to intimidate me when I was little. I know the citrusy scent of the leaves, but to this day I have not been able to smell a flower; every time I tried a few bees would take flight around it and, sure enough, this morning the same thing happened when I got my phone closer to take a picture.
The marigolds, with their strong woody, earthy smell and their compact, rich cups of gold, - such reliable blooms all the way into December sometimes, or until the first tough frost. They are my go-to flower, every time my grand garden design planned in March starts to go wrong in July, basically every year.
The lilies, standing tall with their regal blooms in all colors, always remind me of the famous bible verse: "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”. “Exactly!” a friend of mine always says, "So, why do we have to do it?" True… maybe we have to work, because we humans have become so good at hiding simplicity and inner beauty under layers and layers of beauty norms, decrees and endless schools of thought?
The purple clematis - I think there are several different varieties around the garden. They are simply stunning and, if you haven’t stopped to look at them yet, you must have been in a really big hurry, because they are breathtaking show-stoppers. Personally, I am not just in awe of their purple splendor, I am also in awe of the gardeners ‘raising' them.
I love the modest, sweet butterfly weed - such an unfair name for a friendly, beautiful plant that produces ‘copious amounts of nectar’. Whoever called it weed must have been a stuck-up gardener disgruntled with this trouble-free plant, basically growing itself and not needing any of his/her superior gardening skills.
The zinnias, the black-eyed Susans, the snapdragons, the phlox, the daisies, they all bring memories of lazy summer vacation afternoons with childhood friends in the shade, playing board games and dreaming up big expeditions and adventures. I love catching the scents of herbs in passing, of lavender, of mint, sage, thyme, oregano, basil. There are so many more colorful treasures in our gardens, but we’d be here all day if I were to go on.
Most importantly this week, have you seen the fireflies? A free-for-all, in-plain-sight reminder of nature’s magic software, each one of them a tiny little lesson in awe.