Last Saturday was a pretty significant day as it truly felt like spring with the sun finally out and, with a friend, hit up Seattle's famous Kubota Garden in South Seattle for the first time EVER. When I tell people that it was my first time in the 21 years I've lived here in Seattle, their jaws drop!
This was the first garden in a really long time where my usual, hyperventilating enthusiasm and irrepressible giddiness was non-existent. Strolling through the manicured landscape and its simple plant palette was refreshingly calming. There was nothing pretentious about the plantings; nothing brand new or spectacularly rare nor exciting, it was just a nice space in which to stroll, chat, contemplate, and challenge my companion with some woody plant identification.
Yes, I've been teaching a Plant ID course through Edmonds Community College this quarter and the teaching thing seems to just come naturally: on the clock or not. I feel like I'm always compelled to share an interesting fact about plants with someone. So, I began to wonder if this was truly me or have I learned to "program" myself to always be alert, critical, and have something "smart" to say when it came to visiting gardens and looking at plants with others.
Truly, a farm or garden is a place where I feel comfortable. Being surround by "work" doesn't always mean it's a chore-I have to remind myself at times. The mentality, however, is the fact that because it's such a low-paying industry, one has to always feel like they're always working, or else, come to grips with the fact that every penny has to count and any time spent not actually making money is lost time, a potential bill not payed for, just paying the monthly minimum on my credit card balance, putting a set of new glasses or contacts on hold, therapy, etc. etc. hehe
That day, it really DID NOT feel like work! I felt like I actually savored the time and, later, was able to garden for myself!
After our visit to Kubota and a pretty intense one-on-one chat about love, life, and pruning lilacs, I went straight to a greenhouse where I've been overwintering my plants and began to clip, tidy and prepare a handful for re-introduction outdoors. While some plants were destined for clients, I grabbed the handful that were destined for my garden and decided to bring them with me to harden-off and eventually plant at Landwave.
Arriving at the garden a few minutes later, I was greeted by a stream of blue created by grape hyacinths that weaved through 'Blue Shades' of Anemone blanda combined with the deep pink flowers and bold foliage of Bergenia hybrids that have just started to bloom. This was my "WOW" that I never encountered at Kubota, but it was my own personal "WOW"; an impact I almost couldn't believe I helped create!!
A hybrid Bergenia and a lovely spring blooming ephemeral in the pea-family called Lathyrus verna.
The garden is a mess and overtaken by weeds in the interior, but I was determined to work, plant and make the most of the most ideal weather condition anyone could ask for. I unloaded my plants and just began placing them where I felt I wanted to see them growing or mature without too much reservation about what visitors to the garden might think or what trendy new plant combination or planting scheme I might write about, photograph or apply to a project. I just played musical plants and relied on my experience and whatever felt good to me and just went with it.
I didn't worry so much about a more appropriate or "cooler" plant I needed to buy for a specific effect, I just stuck with my already diverse and eclectic array of plants ensuring each one would have a home besides its own pot. I constantly reminded myself, "Who the f* cares?! I can always edit". I weeded furiously, but without strain and pressure to tackle it all; I got bored with one area or another area calmly called for attention so I just moved around. Just weeding the areas where I intend to plant has been a pretty good strategy.
Yes, I'm always concerned about how it all looks, but today I didn't get so caught up about living up to others expectations of what my garden should be, what I should be growing and what it should look like. It's come such a long way and evolved each year and my current work schedule doesn't allow for a more manicured landscape and it actually felt okay to be reminded of that.
The strikingly unusual flowers of Fritillaria meleagris and the new growth of Hydrangea aspera 'Macrophylla'