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Sacred Spaces Design | Archive for 2010 June

Archive for June, 2010

Seeing Heliotrope

There she is in her glory: heliotrope. I use these ornamental geraniums quite a bit also. I first met them also at my horticultural alma mater, Ravenna Gardens.

Couple of posts back I confessed my newfound love of begonias as a very very vulnerable example of how our plant preferences can change often to our own surprise.  Another way I understand this experience is in terms of what we define as beautiful. The object of our affection hasn’t changed in its innate brilliance. To introduce a new plant here (as I said I would do on a regular basis): a heliotrope is a heliotrope is a heliotrope. But then one day it becomes a H-E-L-I-O-T-R-O-P-E. As if it is something you had never seen before.  The heliotrope hasn’t changed an iota. But something within us does.  We wake up with a new pair of eyes and behold, differently.

Enter begonias.  And heliotrope.

I first met the annual heliotrope when I began working at Ravenna Gardens years ago. It never seduced me. Ever. Until this year. I can’t get enough of it and I am hooked, particularly to its fragrance. Its vanilla-y- aroma just kills me as well as its deep purple blooms (they come in a range of colors in the purple/pink/white spectrum) and rich green leaves of which I am finding it difficult to describe.  Crinkly?  Salvia-esque? I need some help here.

And not to be “age-ist” and all but in keeping with my aforementioned begonia love, it seems that my plant preferences this season seem to liken me to uh-hem, the wiser generations of old.  I giggled when I stumbled upon this quote on WSU’s Whatcom County extension program website (a great resource by the way):  “Like many traditional cottage-garden flowers, heliotrope was prized by our grandmothers…” Maybe it’s because I am with child?  I don’t know.  Begonias, heliotrope, what could be next?  Pepto Bismol pink roses? I wouldn’t put it past me.

Transformation in how we see and relate isn’t limited to plants. Or ice cream (chocolate dipped cone or Blizzard chocolate dipped cone or Blizzard…). But to the big stuff in our lives such as, our perception and understanding of past events in light of our present experience – to our beliefs, ideas, and ideals. How we see (in the fullest sense) and in turn understand, really is dynamic. And terribly humbling. But rich none-the-less.

See. It's true. Here's the evidence. Yesterday I was able to scoot by one of my dear clients to check on how things were filling in and snapped this shot. I won't say the B word anymore.

He’s not a flower but…

hello handsome

I do love him to pieces. This picture was actually taken a couple of weeks ago and I have been meaning to post it. I couldn’t resist. It’s rare you walk into the house and stumble upon a human being just “being.” No music. No TV. No reading.  Nothing. Just sitting, kitty in lap, sipping coffee.

And looking so delicious in those overalls of his.

So I took a picture not only for his scrumptousness but because it was a beautiful thing to stumble upon.  Andre is a real advocate of boredom. We were just talking about “boredom” last night on our walk to the Phinney Ridge Farmer’s Market which closed by the time we got there.  He likes the word boredom. I prefer non-attachment or rather, generous emptiness.  We agree to disagree here but with the point being there is some wisdom in being still. Just being. Being bored. Listening to the source of our “hunger” and I am not just talking belly hunger although it can feel that way. Being still. Drinking coffee. Listening to yourself.  Enjoying the kitty on your lap.

I think this is a gift too.  If you can withstand what can feel like the scariness of the silence.  Because if you do you end up discovering YOU. And isn’t that something to love.

Plant Passive-Aggressive

My name is Gretchen and I am plant passive aggressive: Last year I hated you (begonia). This year I love you (begonia). I don't have a picture of my beloved begonias because most have been planted in my clients' gardens (with their consent) but check out these sweet, oh so feminine impatiens. They look delicious with coleus.

It seems that every season I get hooked on a certain handful of plants. Plants, be they seasonal annuals or perennials or grasses – that say, last year I would never think of using for my clients or be seen buying for that matter. I am a total plant snob.  Until I find myself oohing and ahhing over wax leaf begonias and pale pink new guinea impatiens.  How old am I, 80?

Plant purchases, like our personal wardrobes, do reflect at times generational differences….but also transcend them.  My begonia (why?) hoarding a case in point. Apparently, it isn’t just people (READ: husband) that innocently suffer at the hands of my fantastic mood swings as of late.  Our affection for certain plants changes.  Sometimes overnight.  And isn’t that fun.

Begonias and new guinea impatiens are not my only new flavors of the month.  I have many more, which is to say that I hope to begin a brief series of posts featuring  those plants I once loathed but now love.  I’d also love to hear about your own favorite plant picks this year, particularly those plants you also at one time never would be caught dead purchasing.

You are in the nest. What plant can’t you get enough of?

Posy for my Sister

a posy for auntie's room: a sweet pea growing in my garden that I cant' remember the name of. i think i picked it up from at a Whidbey Island nursery. i love it contrasted with the golden spirea which lasts forever in arrangements. there's also a little bit of horehound, the medicinal herb that's used to make old fashioned cough drops. it has a great soft fuzzy leaf with ruffled edges that feels like a cross between sage and lambs ear and has really pretty grey-silver foliage. there might be a sprig of italian oregano in there too.

Its been a beautiful weekend here in Seattle. Finally, Seattle got a dose of summer.  I think it’s because my sister is visiting that the sunshine kissed us. I’m not the only one.  We all think she has superpowers. All last night as I introduced her to our tribe who gathered at the Tractor Tavern to listen to our buddy’s band,  I would say:   “This is my sister Heather, visiting from San Diego.” And the response: “Thanks for bringing the weather!”  Funny how we say things like this. Just an observation, really.

I think my sister has other superpowers too. Like being a mother of two teenagers and one toddler all under one roof.  Last year, their (she’s got a partner in crime) eldest also flew the coop to young adulthood.  Another superpower:  watching your kids live their life and make choices that make your stomach churn but you don’t interfere because really that is the most loving thing you can do: watch them fall but be with and for them when they pick themselves back up again.

It is a gift to have her here this weekend. So, this is just a quick note to say how thankful I am she took the time to come up and see me pregnant, meet our baby boy (he can at least HEAR her), walk Green Lake, drink iced tea, and a soak up the mild Seattle sun.

‘Tis a gift.