Finally the sun has deigned to grace us with his presence, his light, and his warmth down here in (normally!) sunny Florida. The biting cold, the frosts, and miserable grey are hopefully a thing of the past. And not a day too late; my garden Muse was absolutely itching to get to work because I had major projects to accomplish!
This year I decided to shake things up a little in my garden. The St. Francis flower bed, so named because his statue oversees this part of the garden, had developed a deep-rooted weed system which was hard to control. So I decided to dig deep, dig out as much as possible of the offending growth, and put in a fairly large (10’ x 6’) paved patio center-front of the bed to eliminate some of the back-breaking work of weeding. I have dressed up the patio with pots and urns of various sizes and colours which are planted up with bulbs, seeds and some partially developed plants.
The Quan Yin flower bed, obviously named because her statue reigns supreme here, is much the same as before. However I have decided to fill it with even more flowers this year. There are also hundreds of seeds lying just below the surface of the soil which hopefully will germinate and bloom as the year goes by. I also plan to add to the collection of brightly coloured chimes and wind twisters that hang from the wrought iron framework of the old gazebo that I moved to this bed when the lanai was built last year.
The front yard has undergone the biggest transformation: the side two of the three small flowerbeds have been eliminated and returned to sod, while the central flowerbed has been enlarged to four times its original size. I have walled it in with rustic stonework, elevating the back part to a higher terraced level. The front area has been filled to overflowing with brightly coloured spring flowers and hundreds of seeds are also germinating here for later in the season.
However, the central attraction of this new terraced bed is the weather-worn, trellis arch that originally sat just outside the screened-in back porch room. This arch, which was deeply rooted into the ground on each side with six years of steadily growing orange trumpet vine, was dug up and relocated to the center of the raised terrace part of the new bed out front. A couple of extra trellis panels have been added on each side of the arch to accommodate the copious trailing branches that grow from the vines, and I have planted several rose bushes in this elevated section too.
All of this was done with much help from my assistant gardener, Linda – a very dear friend without whose help I could not have achieved this major overhaul!! This morning, after many anxious days of waiting and watching, new green growth showed on the winter-hibernating vine that wraps itself intricately around the arch:-).
As I sit in the lanai writing, my heart is full of joy and my soul sings in gratitude as I survey the end result of much hard work. It continues to be a work in progress and God’s creation will become even more beautiful as seeds develop into plants and then bloom out in a riot of colour. And this joy and gratitude are magnified because I know that passers-by can feast their eyes and experience their own heart joy.
My happiness is complete as I watch the birds swarming at the feeders. Squirrels are scurrying in the grass and chasing each other up and over the back fence. Lizards and frogs are awakening from their winter lethargy and today I have seen at least a dozen butterflies.
Richard has taken some lovely photos of the garden today, some of them early this morning in the subdued sunrise light, and some of them around lunch time. Enjoy!!
You can see all 45 photos at the Spring Garden Update Photo Album.
On the medicine cards that accompany the book Medicine Cards: The Discovery Of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson, the writing under the illustration of the butterfly says: “You are changing – Emerge into your new state of being - Honor your transformation”.
The opening lines in the chapter of the book dedicated to the butterfly read: “The power that the Butterfly brings to us is akin to the air. It is the mind, and the ability to know the mind or to change it. It is the art of transformation.”
There are four stages to the butterfly’s complete evolution. The first is the egg stage, followed by the second which is the larva stage. After that comes the third stage which is the cocoon or chrysalis from which the butterfly emerges or births which is the fourth and last stage.
So, I woke up this morning and butterflies were on my mind. I don’t know whether I dreamt of them last night. I rarely remember the details of my dreams. But there they were in the forefront of my mind. And as I stepped into my writer’s den, my screened in patio, the first thing I saw were the ceramic and the bronze butterflies on the shelves and another living butterfly fluttering out in the garden.
When I opened the fourth of the meditation books that I read every morning, the illustration was of a butterfly resting on a white daisy. It was the same large yellow and black patterned butterfly that I had just seen in the garden. Then, just to top everything off, I went to my indoor computer and realized for the first time that the log-in illustration on the screen was of a butterfly. Which all brings me to the butterfly connection with my mother that I mentioned in a previous posting.
I have no idea where my mother’s love of butterflies came from. It certainly didn’t exist in the earlier part of her life that I can remember. I became aware of the “butterfly thing” on a visit back to UK when we were living in Italy, which meant it was probably somewhere in the late eighties.
On the wall beside her favourite armchair, which was actually a piece of wood paneling that masked the inner workings of the heating system, I noticed some butterfly stickers. There was also a small picture frame not far from her chair that contained three or four real butterflies, wings spread out in full display, encased in glass.
I never asked her what the sudden interest in butterflies was about. I do know that it was only in her later years, after her retirement at about age sixty three, that she began to be truly aware of the many opportunities that she had missed in life simply because that’s the way it was. And yet there is nothing “simple” about her history, part of which is masked in mystery.
So perhaps she was in a “butterfly stage” at that point in her life, wondering what she was meant to do and how she was meant to go about it – being a larva and just feeding the possibilities. I do know that just as she was free (from work) to be able to “do things and go places”, she was plagued by health issues. This was cause for a period of anger at God on my part after her death.
Perhaps I need to talk with my sisters about the butterfly thing. (My writing has suddenly placed many question marks before me about different aspects of family history.) They were obviously closer to my mother physically, actually living in the same country while I was across a continent. Suffice it to say that every piece of correspondence that I received from her from that period until she died was always adorned with butterfly stickers.
Even while she was still alive, the sighting of a butterfly was always synonymous with a thought of my mother. Today, as I spend my “therapy” and pleasure time in the garden, I see many butterflies and therefore am blessed with happy memories of Mum. There are moments too when the sight of a butterfly is just at a moment when I need a hug or touch of reassurance, and I smile and say “hello Mum” or “thanks Mum” And just to help keep those memories very vivid, the correspondence that I receive from my sisters almost always carries butterfly stickers.