Behind the Trowel

Diane here… Sharing some gardening history…

When I was little, I hated gardening. I had to garden to earn “pocket money” and I always ended up at someone’s house who had pea gravel and weeds and what a pain that is to do! A near impossible task for a mere dollar. ARGH! And then there were the weeds at our own house… tightly wedged between bricks.. DOUBLE ARGH!

In contrast to my own dislike of gardening, Mummy was constantly in the garden. The “old” house in Carmel Valley was transformed by Mummy. There was a pond in the front and a fountain in the back. Dozens of roses filled the front yard. The artichoke plants were some of my favorites and the apricot tree had some of the sweetest apricots ever. There were several honeysuckle plants that wove their vines through trellises that Mummy made. Ah! There were also colorful snapdragons and humongous dahlias that became center pieces on the dining room table.

And then we moved to the “new” house and from scratch again, Mummy created a beautiful garden. A different climate up on the hill in Carmel Valley allowed Mummy to add new flowers: iris, asparagus, lilacs, and columbine. She again made (all by herself) two huge ponds, one in the front and one in the back. To this day, the frogs’ choir is simply glorious because of those ponds. But even at the “new” house, I hated weeding and gardening.

And yet it is part of life, I guess, that we end up loving things that as children we did not exactly embrace. I’ve been gardening now since my early college days when I tried my hand at house plants. I was not so successful at house plants. I ended up forgetting to provide them with the basics: regular drinks of water. Every once in a while I would find a plant that would put up with my inconsistent watering patterns. Fortunately for the plants, Manuel has the greenest thumb ever. He can make ANYTHING grow! If I killed it, Manuel nursed it back to life. If I thought a peach could not grow from the pit I just threw out, Manuel would retrieve the pit and plant it and months later, voilá… I kid you not!

As I have matured, so has my ability to take a plot of sand (aka, Marina, California) and haul in some dirt and slowly add color and sweet fragrances to the yard. I did the same in the not so warm climate near Welches (near Mt. Hood) and now… in the more temperate climate of Sandy. What I have discovered as I age, is that there is something very therapeutic about gardening… and weeding.

Somewhere in my mind, there is some grand plan for Talisman Gardens. I can’t draw it.. and I can’t really even explain it. It’s there though… and it emerges each time I go weed or plant. And, I also discovered that so much of what I do in the garden is deeply rooted in my past. As I add a piece of garden art, or create a new flower bed, or add a water feature, I make the link to someone, some place, some event. It is a slow, slow journey. I’ve learned that it will not be an instant garden.

P.S. I am grateful to Thom for his patient support … helping me haul stuff in… haul other stuff out… building trellises, encouraging me to drive the bobcat, and most of all, for simply enjoying the process instead of the goal.

A few photos… not in the garden!

(1) Brianna and me in Sunriver, OR.

bnbh dbh1

(2) My “scooterlator” Bergie… on my way to work.


(3) View from the porch… “My” mountain inspires me on a daily basis. 🙂

for web1

(4)Summer 2010 Update! I’ve been doing a bit less gardening this summer and focusing on my newest goal to complete a triathlon in September 2010. This photo is at the 2010 Portland Bridge Pedal… 23 miles across 7 bridges. WHAT A RUSH!

4 responses to “Behind the Trowel

  1. Maggie

    Mi querida Diane, primero, me encanta la foto tuya y de tu hermosa hija. La de la motocicleta está de Usted y Tenga. Y la que botó la bola y tiró el bate, es la de la vista a la montaña desde tu casa…are you kidding me? pero si es la belleza natural ante tus ojos. No, no, ante esa vista no es de U y T, sino de Quitarse el Sombrero. bello

  2. This is a great blog, D.! I love it! Look forward to photos of that mtn!
    Gardening is a wonderful thing, an outlet for artistic endeavors as well as stress release. There is just something about working in the dirt, working in the fresh air, nurturing something you want to grow. It is a wonderful feeling! I love the springtime! It is so awesome to wander the yard and watch the plants poking up their tender heads for another blooming season providing you with beauty, color, and scent.

    It is a lot of work to transform a yard into an oasis of beauty. It is a work in progress! Just when you think it is done, you create another aspect!

    I LOVE puttering in my yard!
    come see sometime.

  3. Kathee

    I relate so much! I’m finally beginning to bond with my yard this year. This is the first year I’ve had strength to take ownership of my property… and I find that through the mowing, bush trimming and continual weed pulling, I find much satisfaction.

    Pulling the weeds gives me contemplation time, in which weeds of the past are removed from the furtile soil of my heart and mind.

    The verdant grass begins to weave its roots in my heart when I notice a dry patch… and immediately I rush to put additional water on it to renew the lovely green…

    Odd, but soothing… something completely different from the daily technical and legal text I am compelled to review, analyze and write.

    What a blessing! Thank you for sharing, and opening a forum for others to do the same!


  4. You look like you are from another planet ready to blast off on your scooterlator!!

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