One of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure in life is to create beauty wherever I can. I think I’ve done a pretty good job and others tell me that my creations give them pleasure too. Just this morning I finished underplanting some roses with violas. They arrived as an unexpected but gracious gift from the hand of a garden deva, sprinkling seed as she passed by my strawberry bed. They look splendid and survived the move without the least wilting. Their happy little faces smile up at me every time I go out to that part of the garden. Such a counterpoint to my inner garden. This beautiful but fragile place was visited recently by a dark angel. Swooping in on huge sun-annihilating wings, accompanied by storm and fire she spread salt and brimstone hither and yon. What inner beauty I had cultivated there withered. The landscape is a barren wreck and now I am left to wander within my self-garden seeking for life, the tiniest jewel of grass blade or flower bud. Like Demeter seeking her stolen child I am world-damningly bereft. It is my fervent prayer that my internal winter will pass and once again new life will be restored; that the happy smiling faces of my soul violas will once again brighten my inner garden. As I think of them I begin to imagine the new creation that can rise up from the ashes within. A new garden, even more beautiful than before.
As always I set off into the garden with the best of intentions, a list of jobs to be done. It all started off well, the sun was shining and a slight breeze ruffled the foliage. My main priority, to refill and treat a pond that had been infected with blue-green algae. I turned the water on and waited for the pond to fill. I began contemplating what to do next; standing there in the garden I looked around and realised that from that position I could see a view I hadn’t noticed for a while. I was struck by how much new life was awakening; I felt slowed down as I took in the abundance. Everywhere rose buds were unfurling, leaves breaking free of their restraints. Perfume pervaded the air, carried some distance by a kindly zephyr. And it was all happening quietly, gently, slowly. I felt myself adjust to the langourousness of the pace. I breathed deeply. My soul swelled within me, joy filled my heart. The beauty of it all was debilitating – I had to stop, put away my list and rest quietly in its embrace. As I sat watching birds went about their business, the pond overflowed filling the garden with the sound of water running over rocks. The grass I sat on tickled bare skin, played host to tiny bugs that worked on unconcerned. It was like viewing a quilt, lots of tiny pictures all requiring a respectful attention. Tiny buds hung on bent stems, fern fronds lifted their korus, all in prayerful adoration. I spent quite some time, as though savouring a favourite meal. Now I knew my plans would be for naught. The spirit of the garden had taken hold, the faeries of old had seduced me to the land where time stands still. My surrender was complete.
It’s been a busy week both in the garden and out. I keep attempting to sit down and write then I’d find myself wandering off to some other task. My subtle world has been awash with disturbance and so the garden has seemed more of a sanctuary than usual. I found myself accompanied by the Queen of Hearts at one point; emotion was high and as I slashed my way through an overgrowth of Hawaiian white ginger I heard her yelling “Off with their Heads!” as she encouraged me on. Thanks to such great encouragement I got a lot done and the outcome was a clarity previously unavailable and a spaciousness within the garden that allowed in light and an expanse of sky. The openness insistently stirred my imagination. I began to plan the replanting; visions of Charles II and his Restoration palaces inspired plant choices that would create a lush and fecund environment. Lots of large glossy rounded forms, strong colour. Shrubs bedecked with flowers, climbers to carry the colour and perfume up high, an exotic dreamscape. Sadly, without Charles’ budget reality dawned. I’m back to seed planting and potting up cuttings from last year in readiness for the new vision. It’s only a matter of time until my royally appointed retreat will be ready. As a friend was visiting we took the opportunity to visit my favourite local spot. A magnificent stand of forest giants, our native Kauri grow amongst lush ferns and palms, the sound of water dripping from the canopy. It always has the most primeval feel, the size and age of the trees dwarfing humans and animals alike. I’m seriously fascinated by the mosses that grow everywhere in the cool and damp, their soft green beauty a refreshment to my soul. Looking up into the branches I imagine the builders of Gothic Cathedrals realising the way to hold up those huge vaulted roofs as they pondered the spreading branches looking for all the world as thought they were holding up the sky. Our hearts swelled with the grace and joy evoked by the quiet wisdom of these magnificent trees.