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Archive for the ‘Roses’ Category

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie

the back yard through the yoga studio window

sometimes I abandon the yoga in favor of gazing aimlessly out the window

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When Someone Deeply Listens To You ~ by John Fox

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

Faded Rose - August 2011

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I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

–Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947)

Miss Peanut answers the call of a Mint leaf

Well, the last week has simply been heaven. Every spare moment was spent planting the seedlings started during Spring Break. Several huge cans full of grass and weeds were pulled as well. There is still a lot to be done, but the garden looks tended again. It’s impossible to express just how good for me this process has been. My intellectual pursuits of the last 20 months were very intense and I had not been grounded in the way I need, which is that special brand of grounded I only get from, well, the ground. All head and no body makes one a bit insane after a time. The garden is medicine. My muscles are delightfully sore and I have a touch of color back in my cheeks. The weather was even on my side with cool cloud cover and a bit of rain midweek. The photos all came out with a bit of fog in the center, so I apologize for the quality – not worth retaking them though. Let’s just pretend that I was going for that vintage nostalgic hazy days of summer sepia toned wonder and call it a day. Later I’ll clean the lens, since I know I probably thumbed it with sunscreen. We get messy when we’re gardening πŸ™‚

Somewhere around 42 Tomato seedlings went into the ground in various spots around the property. They had priority, of course. Those are the leftover winter peas drying on the tops of the stakes so I can plant them later.

the Brandywines are in the ground and all is right with the world

The Artichoke seedlings, 4 of them, came from last year’s fruit.

Artichoke seedling

I found a bird’s nest, probably doves, in a burrow on the ground in the meditation circle. This makes four nests that I save in a special place in the potting shed. They are among my favorite things.

I have quite a growing collection of bird's nests in the potting shed

The Hollyhock seedlings are from Andrea’s seeds, so of course I’m hoping for dark colored flowers!

Andrea's Hollyhock seeds are finally in the ground

Tom bought me an upside down hanging Strawberry planter so I would have more than just a few ripe ones at a time. He loves me.

Tom's Topsy Turvy

There were at least three of these cans full of grass and weeds pulled out to make room for seedlings.

out with the old - in with the new!

At a certain point, I had pulled out so many plants needing new homes, I had to spread out over the lawn. I find I have to make a mess before I can bring about any kind of order.

finding joy amid the chaos

There is still a lot of transplanting to do; finding new homes for what I dug up, re-potting things that have grown out of their pots, moving all succulents and cacti to pots leaving more ground for herbaceous plants, etc…

looking for new homes

When I get it all cleaned up, probably by the Full Moon this coming Wednesday, I’ll be able to sit in my rocking chair and celebrate with a juicy glass of wine. In the meantime, the bees are busy gathering pollen…

greedy little bee in an Agapanthus

…the flowers are blooming…

Roses and Grapes and Andrea's birdhouse

…completely oblivious to the fact that I’m literally turning the entire garden upside down. The only ones to really notice have been the spiders, but we get along famously as long as we respect each others space.

the ever-faithful Feverfew

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“I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

rainbow sherbet rose

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Today is Tuesday, so time to honor the Muse. Today, she takes the form of mentors, those people who come into your life and teach you things, and I would like to talk about my father-in-law who passed away last Wednesday. He leaves behind a very large family that adored him and a lifetime of friends who loved and respected him. He came into my life when I was still a very young woman, about 20 yrs old. He gave me a job when I desperately needed one and that’s how I eventually became a Northcutt myself.

There are many things I am grateful to him for, but the one I will highlight here is that he shared with me his knowledge of gardening, took me under his green thumb and taught me how to grow things. He had been a sharecropper in Oklahoma before moving to California all those years ago when so many people fled the dust bowl. He also had a small farm here in Ramona, Ca. By the time I met him he was mostly settled back into the suburbs just a few miles from where Tom and I live now, but his backyard was always lush and blooming with as much as would fit. The crowded state of my own backyard testifies to his influence: a little bit of lawn in the center with all the edges packed with fruits, vegetables and flowers.

He taught me how to grow peppers and potatoes and how to train vines, told me when to cut back my roses and to plant garlic under them to help keep bugs off, and how to cage my tomatoes. Thanks to him, I know about burying rusty nails in the dirt under a Hydrangea to change its color and many other nuggets of gardening wisdom and folklore that all seemed like magic in the beginning. He taught me to garden by the cycles of the moon and to read the Farmers Almanac, told me why things were not doing well and how to fix it. He told me to loosen up the dirt around the base of plants so they could breathe, answered all my questions and told me silly stories. Most impressively, he knew all of this without ever consulting the internet or a book.

Over the years he must have given me a hundred planting pots , every size and shape and material. He picked them up, along with the half dead plants that were in them, in alleys and abandoned lots, or from the recently vacated houses and apartments he was working on. We always had fun trying to bring those poor plants back to life and more often than not we had success. If I admired a plant, he would immediately whip out his pocket knife and give me a cutting, along with another pot and some dirt, and told me how to grow it. My hands were always dirty when I left his house, but they were never empty. Every time I visited we took a walk together around the yard to tour his garden, where he was always happy and always in denim overalls. We had to stop at every plant and discuss its progress, every bloom was appreciated and snails were collected and thrown over the fence – I won’t say in which direction πŸ™‚ There was a turtle that lived in the yard and we fed it broccoli together. If there was something new growing, he told me all about it. Billy Wayne Northcutt taught me more about gardening than anybody else. It was something we had in common, besides Tom. He passed along to me one of his life’s passions and for that I will always love him and am deeply grateful that he took the time and effort to teach me something so important. Thank you, Billy, from the bottom of my heart.

If you have a mentor in your life, it is an honor, say thank you. If you are a mentor to someone else, it is an honor, say thank you.

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Last week, I made a vow to make Tuesdays a day for inspiration and a special time to honor the Muse in whatever form she may come. Today, a rose and a friend…

Without Time
by Steve Mitchell

without time
no scent on the bloom
frozen rose

rich luxurious luscious velvety deep dark red rosy scented beauty


Very special thanks to Steve Mitchell: friend, poet, Haiku master, artist, painter, philosopher, wino…you know, all the good stuff! Steve has always been an inspiration to me because his house is filled with his own paintings and he’s the only man to have ever told me a Haiku knock-knock joke that he made up. Seriously. Who does that? Thank you, Steve, you inspire me to paint, even though I really don’t know what I’m doing.

Some people paint their world using words or ideas, others with flowers and colorful gardens, some with clothing, cosmetics, food or photographs. Whatever you choose, use your favorite colors, splash around in them and do not be afraid of extravagant flourishes. Even nature decides once in a while that a simple red rose is not enough and she creates the deepest, darkest, lush red she can find, just because she can.

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The title of today’s post makes me very very happy. I’m going to say it again: Spring Break. Ahhhhh. One whole week without classes coming right up! It took a lot to get here and it’s a Full Moon, so today I’m going to rest and roll around in thoughts of what I’ve managed to accomplish over the last little while and pat myself on the back. We should all do that more often you know? Go ahead, pat yourself on the back right now. You are awesome and you know it! If someone else pats you on the back, it’s a great feeling, but why the hell should we wait for that?!

Spring Peas - April 2011


There will be no starting of anything new either. The week ahead will be spent finishing the things I normally don’t have time for. Work is caught up, but I will have the opportunity to do those projects that seem to get put at the bottom of my in-box over and over, like balancing the bank statements and taking inventory of my supplies, cleaning up computer files and reorganizing property photos…sooooo much excitement! There are also some weird and time-consuming school projects and one humongous botany paper to write. Yes, it would be more fun to flake more over the coming week, maybe even leave town a couple days, but my plan is to have everything done that I can do so the rest of the semester goes easy and when it’s over I have a clean Summer Slate to work with. Yes, I am becoming more pragmatic with age. Sigh.

Glamour and Drama in the Swiss Chard patch - April 2011


It will not be all work though…Tom and I have already started to enjoy the extra time together starting with a fabulous lunch out on Friday. I even pulled out a pair of four inch Louboutins to wear. We always enjoy our lunch dates, but the extra glamour went a long way towards starting the break on a positive, mildly self-indulgent foot. πŸ™‚

Fresh Spring Strawberries - almost! April 2011


There has even been some gardening happening the last couple of days. Yay! My big red apple cookie jar is completely empty of seeds right now, which I believe has never happened. It got a good bath inside and out and all of the seeds except for a few odd ones have been planted. (By the time they sprout and get ready for permanent Earth homes, I will done with the semester) The last few remaining seeds will go in the dirt today to honor the Moon and I will not be buying any more for the rest of the year. The time has come to use what I have and clean out the potting shed of stuff I don’t use – I can hardly get in the door! It will be fun to see what germinates because most of these seeds are a bit aged. Some of them are even leftovers of envelopes that have not produced a single viable seed yet, Cantaloupes and Cucumbers among them.

Seed Inventory Day - January 2011


It always amuses me when that happens. Was there just a dysfunctional mother plant that put those seeds out? Most of the time it’s because they have been on the shelf too long and I always forget to check the date on the envelope. Perhaps that will be my nugget of advice for the day; always check for a ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ date on your seed packages. They should be fresh and no more than a year old when you plant them. Yes, some seeds stay viable for much longer, but why take chances when they aren’t free? Also, I never buy seeds from outlet stores like “Big Lots” or odd stores like a drugstore where you normally wouldn’t buy seeds. If they are displayed in the direct Sun or outside, I don’t buy them either. In fact, I have discovered that seeds ordered online seem to be the most reliable in terms of germination. As far as storage goes, I’ve learned to keep mine in zip-lock baggies in my cookie jar or air tight glass jars, which I collect in every shape, color and size imaginable. They stay up on a shelf in my dark potting shed. It floods in the winter time, but my seeds stay dry and at a consistent temperature. Of course, the best place for a seed is in the Earth!

Boing! Grape vine tendrils....


So now I’m off to have breakfast with Tom and plan the rest of my day. It’s really a wonderful feeling to be able to take my time doing whatever it is I’m doing without feeling pressured to hurry up and finish so I can go do something else that needs doing. Ahhhhh. I can stop running now and enjoy the journey a little more, perhaps contemplate ‘things’ and ‘stuff.’ Contemplation has become a fancy luxury these days. Or maybe I’ll just go outside and sniff some roses – just for hell of it….

The bedroom window roses are in full bloom again. - April 2011


Happy Spring Sunday! and once again because I love saying it – Spring Break!

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