“You ready for the wind storm?” my neighbor asked.
He was carrying a bag of groceries. I was fiddling around with my containers, thinking about what I might plant in them this year.
I wondered if I wanted anything, not so much to be prepared, but to go along with a wind storm.
I decided to go out and grab a Coca-cola. I also decided to take Ruthie with me.
By the time we returned, which was less than ten minutes, the wind and rain were powerful. Ruthie was afraid to get out of the car. I felt badly that I had taken her out.
Ruthie is terribly sweet and the most sensitive dog in the world. That’s part of what makes her who she is and incredibly lovable.
We sat inside the car for a few minutes, listening to the howling wind and sound of heavy rain fall on the car. Things slowed for a moment, but as soon as I opened the door, a gust of rain came down and Ruthie jumped back in the car. Pretty soon the wind stopped and all was quiet.
The storm had gone as quickly as it had arrived.
My yard was a series of shallow ponds, that obviously, the Robins love!
They surprised me with a vigor and ability to stand still, while rain fell in buckets on their red-breasted bodies.
Most of the Robins took cover when the rain fell harder, but one stood its ground through the length of the storm.
The persistent and patient Robin kept looking at me and once, when I was taking a photo of a very wet Cardinal, the wet Robin hopped in front of the camera just in time to get in the photograph.
I loved the storm. I also loved that Ruthie and I were home to see the birds that came afterwards!
All the birds were here!
Most unusual, was a visit from a Bluebird. Normally, the Mockingbird aka “King of the Yard,” simply will not allow bluebirds to cross the little rain-made creek where the lawn meets the trees.
I couldn’t get a photo because the Bluebird came to the suet hanging by my front door near where I was standing. I did however have a wonderful macro view!
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My son was first to see the flock of Robins, alerting me with an excitement I hadn’t heard in a great long time. That was a blessing in itself.
“Mom! You gotta come see!” he exclaimed. “Just for a minute,” he added.
I knew I had to go see what he saw. I made it to the door in time to see the flock of American Robins gracefully landing on the moist and cold grassy lawn. The slight sound of their wings in flight, I can still recall. I like that.
I am grateful to be alive in these moments. Life is not easy, at least not for me, so when nature shows her awe, I do take notice. I catch a trillionth second wind moving me to carry on.
The red-breasted beauties hopped, stopped, and hopped again. My neighbor said they they hear worms, so they stop briefly to listen for them. I don’t doubt this, because bird brains are pretty darn smart! I do however wonder if wintertime lawns have worms to offer.
A fully grown man, my son, stood with me watching the birds, both of us glad to be there, together, without words and absolutely taken by the moment.
(Originally posted on Flickr. Edited on January 28th, 2014).
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“Wait, Look!” I said to the group. “There’s a whole family of little lizards over here!”
My horticultural companions continued on with their short journey to the Green House. The little seeds we had just planted in pots needed a place to sit and ponder on their life for a while.
While volunteering in the small Horticultural Healing group, I often, perhaps too often, get distracted by the creatures living around the gardens.
I had never seen lizards up close before I started going to the gardens and taking photographs.
My first love in the gardens was a little lizard who lived in an abandoned Cabbage patch in one of the raised beds. I’ve met several more since then, but I must admit, none have been as special as the one in the Cabbage patch, who I met in Spring 2012. He (or she) and I communicated for a few days, before he moved on after realizing that us gardeners, who had invaded his Winter home, had come to stay a while.
I have since also fallen in-love with a Baby Turtle (BT) and a Frog.
I stopped to see the little lizards. I would have liked the Green House. I love it so, especially in Winter, when warmth is inviting and the green life is healing.
The lizards had my attention. I’m not sure they really liked me photographing them.
Nature has a way of asking me to be more aware so as not to get too close when I meet her wild children.
The little lizards peeked out at me from beneath the picnic table, crawling from the crevices onto the wooden wall. Clearly, they didn’t want me in their space. I tried not to disturb them.
I’m not sure why I’m attracted to lizards, frogs and turtles. I knew I loved Butterflies, and all Mother Nature’s critters, but there’s something about these reptilian creatures that draw me into their world.
Lately, I keep getting the message to slow down, be more aware of my environment, and taking a little time to think before I take action. I bet lizards do that.
Horticulture Therapy, even as a volunteer within the group, gently offers me lessons in life.
I didn’t feel like being around people this week, but I went to the group anyway. I had hopes that my poor mood would be accepted, and I believe it was.
After planting a few seeds and taking them to the Green House, the Horticulture Therapy Intern suggested a hike, and for unknown reasons to me, I didn’t want to go, which I communicated with her.
I wanted to stay back, alone, but she didn’t offer me time to consider this option. Within a few minutes of being in the woods, we came to the creek. It was beautiful. I remembered the many days my late dog friend, Free, enjoyed swimming and rolling in mud there.
Leaving the water, I spotted a bird perched high in the branches of a tree. “Look everyone!”
I was excited and didn’t mean to tell folks what to do next when I said, “Be still.”
I wanted them to see the awesome bird and when they did, I felt a connection. Being alone wasn’t as appealing to me. I was glad we were there together.
I got a few shots of the bird, although not very clear ones, and then it flew away into the misty woods.
“It’s an omen,” the Intern remarked. “I believe in those things.”
I felt like she was talking to me, but I wasn’t sure. After seeing the beautiful bird, I noticed how much lighter were the burdens I carried.
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I like to call this garden the Therapy Bed. These are some of the Fall greens growing. Yummy and Gorgeous growing together!
This garden is very special, which I’ve probably said here before. A healing energy surrounds it. I can feel it in the food that grows there.
The Therapy Bed was home to the Summer Tithonia Garden and brought many species of beautiful butterflies! I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to spend time there and to the woman who planted them because they are by far one of my very favorite flowers.
You can see an interesting piece of art from this year’s Sculpture in the Garden show in the background of the photo (above). The white curves remind me of the old-time soft-serve ice cream we used to get in the small town I grew up in.
I’ve missed several group meetings (as a volunteer in Horticulture Therapy) over the past couple of months, due to health issues and stressful circumstances, but am so glad that my son has been able to attend and bring home the greens!
I look forward to participating in the colder weather horticultural activities, like when they make Christmas wreaths and aromatic herb bags.
Oddly, when I’ve been unable to attend the group gatherings, I’ve found myself piddling around in my yard or more often, taking care of the container plants still living on my decks.
The big Terracotta filled with Chives, Thyme and the most wonderful ground cover called Carpet Mint are still quite nice. The Mint isn’t visible, but I hope it comes back next year.
I must admit, although I get a lot from being with my plants or walking through the woods, it isn’t a replacement for being with a group of people in Horticulture Therapy (HT). Healing really does happen in HT and I love it!
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- Horticulture therapy growing in memory care centers (wfaa.com)
- Harris Health System Garden Helps Bodies and Souls (theepochtimes.com)
- Dallas Arboretum Offers Therapy In The Garden (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- 4 surprising benefits of gardening (mnn.com)
2012, 25 August
August is almost over. The days of 100 degree temperatures in North Carolina are most likely gone for the year. A few leaves are falling. Pale yellows and a few red ones have blown with the light winds landing on my small front porch, where my little Green Healing garden grows. Amazing how time goes by when you reach a certain age.
Fall planting has begun in Horticulture Therapy. We planted Kale and Radish seeds. The soil is still warm, so these will be good plants to start with. Both are of a variety that will make for a pretty garden. The Radish are ‘White Ice Cicle’ and the Kale will have wide leaves that are rather pale in color compared to the more common green varieties. We’ll enjoy a lovely white (and nutritious) garden if it grows well and I sure hope it does. The garden always offers hope.
Planting seeds is one of my favorite things to do in a garden. I think it is also one of the most hopeful tasks, because there are many events that could cause the seeds not to germinate. The first evidence of germination makes a horticulture heart a happy one! (Click on an image to view Gallery)
I was walking to the raised bed gardens, past the meadow where a very large Joe Pye Weed is growing when I saw a shadow on the ground. Looking up I saw this most graceful butterfly. Wow, how absolutely beautiful, I thought.
After having spent over an hour in the Mexican Sunflower garden with the strong flying Swallowtails, along with several Skippers and Sulfers, the latter of ‘whom’ didn’t stop long to pose, this eloquent solo glider was peaceful and still. My mind captured the memory of a Green Healing moment in time.
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A Green Healing day chasing butterflies offered stunning colors of Winged Garden Friends and Flowers too. I had a feeling if I went to the Tithonia garden around Noon that I would get to see the butterflies, and boy was I right on!
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Click on Image for a Closer Look.
Skippers perched drinking nectar and a little hummingbird on the way.
(Right Click / View Images for a Closer Look)
It was the hummingbird I was looking for when I walked over to the flowering gardens and met up with a zealous group of butterflies, which I believe were Silver-spotted Skippers. What a fun group of butterflies!
The Skippers may not seem as spectacular as the bright Zebra Swallowtail or awe-inspiring like the Monarchs, but these winged friends are very playful. They fluttered and flitted to and fro, hovering only briefly and often gathering together on a single flower.
According to Geyata Ajilvsgi, in my all time favorite Butterfly reference book, Butterfly Gardening for the South, these winged garden friends are, “pugnacious in character and will attack just about anything in its range, especially other butterflies, no matter which species they happen to be” (pg 150).
I would never have guessed that what I thought was simply a family generously sharing in their source of energy, might instead have been a combative rivalry.
I’ve missed a few Horticulture Therapy group gatherings, but I’ve tried to keep a connection with the gardens by visiting. The images I come home with help me remember the Green Healing moments in time.
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Butterfly Gardening for the South.
Taylor Publishing Company, 1991.
The Audubon Society Pocket Guides.
Familiar Butterflies, North America.
A Chanticleer Press Edition
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1990.
- One Green Healing Day! (dogkisses.wordpress.com)
- Cocooning Butterflies (fibromodem.wordpress.com)
- David Attenborough calls for help as butterflies face worst year ever (guardian.co.uk)