This is a brown season in the garden. Most of the beds in full sun are at rest right now, layered with organic debris, compost and mulch, awaiting the fall rains. Even sun-loving plants struggle in our very hot temperatures, so summer is a time when the garden shrinks to a few beds with shade relief.
Having just returned from a very green country, I was finding the garden, well, rather depressing. Since that is, of course, my issue and not the garden’s, it’s clearly time to take a fresh look. Today, with openness to possibilities, three appreciations dropped in.
First, burrs. What are robust at this season are grasses and weeds. After any foray around the garden -- especially any weeding -- gloves, shirts, pants and socks are stickered with burrs. And every one that gets picked off lands in a new place. How clever, how resourceful! Burrs are their own built-in transportation system. It would not work not to stick; it would not work to stick too hard to come off. The design is perfect for its purpose.
Second, vines that grip. We are trimming back the grapevines spilling off the arbor and into the grasses beyond. We went to move some wire frames from beside the arbor and found them firmly clenched by multiple tendrils. We cut off the main vines and moved the frames, but the tendrils themselves are still hanging on like little hands. These are plants, and they can tie knots, knots so strong and complicated they can’t be untied, but loose enough not to cut off their own circulation. Amazing.
And finally, what is possible beyond brown? A neighbor’s house, with deck fully exposed to the sun, is a glorious green, red, orange, blue, lavender and yellow container garden. Who says summer must be brown, or mainly brown? Especially now that Sangha has gifted the Monastery with tanks that store thousands of gallons of water, what other colors, what other plants, would love to brighten the garden if given the chance?
Can we humans here in the Monastery garden be as original and adaptive as the burrs and vines? Can we live into a larger and lovelier palette? What very fun possibilities to explore.