I spent the weekend replanting seventeen pots on my patio.
It was time. My glorious crop of spring crocuses, grape hyacinth, daffodils and tulips had finished. Only the memory of their pastel beauty and a tangle of withered blossoms and dead, brown leaves remained.
But before you plant new flowers in a pot, you must first clear out the old. Unless you do this, there will be no room for new growth. Every gardener knows that!
Clearing is hard work.
My bulbs were firmly entrenched. Their roots went deep. Worse, they were tangled with the roots of the palm I plant at the center of every pot. This palm is the heart and soul of each container, and continues for many seasons. I had to fight every rooted bulb to dislodge and remove it, without destroying the palm, though it inevitably suffered damage as I gently separated its roots from those of the tenacious, clinging bulbs.
When all was done, I dug in the hardened dirt to make it soft. I refreshed it with new soil, and mixed it together, rubbing it between my fingertips as though I was blending butter and salt to make pastry. When the soil was light and tender, the pot was ready to receive new planting. The palm looked chastened, and a bit fragile, but I knew it had the strength and stamina to send out new roots, and to regain its vitality. I let the pots rest overnight to absorb the shock of having been cleansed and fertilized.
Next day, I planted summer flowers. White impatiens, red geraniums, yellow marigolds, and blue, trailing lobelia. Soon, the pots were brimming with color and new life again. I swept the terrace, dumped the garbage bags filled with exhausted soil, and stored a few healthy bulbs for Fall’s replanting. A good watering, and my garden was good to go. I was filthy and tired, but deeply happy. Cares seem to melt away when you kneel in your garden!
When I’m gardening, I feel I am doing exactly what I should be doing. After all, God himself planted the first garden. And the very first job he gave to the very first man was to tend that garden and keep it beautiful. Gardening is God’s or the Goddess’s work.
Many have observed that gardening is a metaphor for life. It was one of Shakespeare’s favorite themes. “Our bodies are our gardens…our wills are our gardeners,” he famously said.
But human hearts and souls are gardens too. Every once in a while, we must clean out our inner pot. Get rid of worn-out bulbs and dead plants ~ old habits, griefs, attachments, disappointments, betrayals, outgrown dreams and obsessions ~ that no longer make life beautiful or give us joy.
It is desperately hard work. The old will not yield to the new without a struggle. There will be tearing and wrenching as you dig out and discard ideas and thoughts that have outlived their time. There may be a period of seeming barrenness, when life seems fragile, and stripped of the growth that once filled it. This is an illusion. A temporary condition. The old served no purpose since it was dead.
New growth and beauty will emerge when we make room for it! Try it, and watch your garden grow.
Anne Baird, Designer/Owner of GODDESS CARDS, is a self-taught artist who has been painting and writing since childhood. Her chosen media for her unique line of greeting cards is watercolor, with touches of gouache, ink and colored pencil.
Her GODDESS CARD line grew from a birthday card she created for her daughter, Amanda, in 2001. Amanda was disheartened at being a curvaceous beauty in the Land of Thin. (Los Angeles.) That seminal card declaring, “You’re a GODDESS, not a nymph!” evolved into a long line of love notes and affirmations for ALL women. At over 125 cards, the line is steadily growing.
Anne is inspired by the archetypal Legendary Goddesses, who have so much to teach today’s women. Her greatest inspiration however, comes from the Goddesses of Today, who write her with wonderful suggestions and thoughts that expand her consciousness and card line.
She has launched an E-Goddess Card website, where the Goddess on the Go can send Goddess “e-cards”, enriched with music and stories, at the click of a mouse. (A virtual mouse.)