Friday, November 25, 2011

Garden fairy

The garden fairy came to visit. She was very intent on caring for my plants with the little plastic watering can that I keep nearby. I don't water the jade plants very often, but the garden fairy made sure they were not missed out.
Then she moved on to the 'Victoria Blue' salvia. I thought it had died earlier in the year, but after being cut back it's enjoying a spring revival, and the flowers are a glorious colour. Having learned all the basic hues of the paintbox, the fairy now discusses with me whether the colour is blue, or purple, or violet, and any of the shades in between, such as 'bluish purple' or 'purply blue'.
The other jade plant just to the left of the salvia was also included.
As was the fragrant daphne bush. It was left on my doorstep by a dear friend after a loss that shook our family some weeks ago. Now the flowering is over, but it still needs care. As the fairy focussed on her watering task, the sun made magical patterns on the tiles.
Then she moved on to the big pot, in which the primrose has finished and a new parsley plant is looking rather wan. I'd rather given up on this pot, but the fairy leaves nothing untended,
even the other pot to the right, in which the plants are struggling.
How lucky I am to be reminded of the importance of tending, in this season of loss. The matriarch of the family has died, at 95, but the young one picks up the watering can and does what needs to be done. In her innocence, she brings hope of renewal.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In sacred space

I've just returned from an evening and a day in sacred space, teaching The Art of Ritual to twelve lovely women who live an hour and a half north of Auckland. They are very connected to nature, and their hearts are open to learning and connecting.
Here are the symbols for water, that I placed in the west of our circle.
Here is part of the setting for fire in the north, with blazing Californian poppies gathered from the garden. (Later the women made their own symbols, but as I don't have their permission I'm just showing my own)
And here is air in the east, with a fan, a little vase of pheasant feathers, and a tiny pink wooden dragonfly from Vietnam.
I didn't manage to get a photo of the bean and courgette seedlings for earth in the south, but here is my personal symbol to resource me through the coming weeks.

Kawakawa features prominently in Maori healing. It's also associated with death. I am grieving the passing of my dear mother-in-law, whom I met a year after my marriage 48 years ago, and who remained my friend even though the marriage later ended. At the same time this season is regenerating me. The kawakawa leaf represents a hope for integration of opposites: death and new life.

Being with this group of women, who have come together to celebrate the seasons through the cycle of one year, has been regenerating, fulfilling and hopeful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The happiness tree

Have you ever seen a plant that instantly made you feel happy?
Today, I did.
The street where I go to see my hairdresser is full of gardens. One tree stood out today as I drove down the winding road to her house.
Yes, it's a bottlebrush. One after another, there they were, in their crimson glory, bursting out in all directions,
bristling with life, pushing their noses to the sky as if to catch the scent of the clouds.
Next month, the pohutukawas will be in bloom, but for now, their Australian cousins are filling the gap with their exuberant red, positivity and joy.
Thank you to all those gardeners who planted these happy trees.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Other people's gardens

I'm so lucky to live in a neighbourhood of colourful gardens. I always walk to the shops, which gives me time to delight in the spring flowers, with their glorious colours. This line of yellow and red roses has been planted in front of a little white house, and it looks spectacular.
Further down the street, I pass a purple koromiko in full flower. It's a native plant that I've always loved. The new leaf tips are a good remedy for diarrohea, and Maori families used to send them off to the troops in the second world war, to combat desert dysentry.
A few steps further on, and an intoxicating sweet scent has me gazing upwards at these yellow flowers - mimosa perhaps?
And finally, before I reach the library, I pause in front of this exquisite rose.
Now that I live in an apartment, I don't have my own garden any more. And so I especially appreciate what others have created.
Thank you gardeners, for all your hard work, and the pleasure that you give to passersby.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spring fairy

It was Guy Fawkes, and while crackers resounded through the neighbourhood, the little one's parents were in Wellington, celebrating their wedding anniversary. I was in charge, sleeping over for the first time.
It seemed like a nice thing to do, once the dishes were clean, to mop the floor. The little spring fairy insisted on doing her part.
What a zealous little housekeeper! She was unstoppable.
And once the floor was done, she took a sponge and wiped every surface in sight.
Not missing the corners or the awkward places, but covering every patch of floor and wall.
After a shower and a story, I tucked her up in bed and, with a kiss goodnight, she drifted off to sleep. The crackers continued to bang and pop all around, but the spring fairy was happily lost in the land of dreams.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spring surprise

Have you ever discovered something beautiful right under your nose?
The big palm trees at the apartment block where I live are flowering. I don't recall them doing this last year, but then again, they are in a corner of the garden where I don't usually venture.
My neighbour said, 'Have you seen the yellow flowers?'
I pass them each day as I walk down the stairwell. My eyes however, are focussed on the stairs as they turn to the left, and I had failed to look right. Had I done so, this is what I would have seen.
What glorious, fulsome bunches they are.
They begin feathery, and then fill out, like ripe fruit. 
From now on, I'll be watching, fascinated to see what colour berries they produce, and how their cycle unfolds.
 It's good to keep an eye on the steps, especially after having a fall. It's also good to remember to stop and look out, through the glass panels of the stairwell, and into the hidden garden; and to walk around to the other side sometimes, and feast on views like this one. How could I have missed such magic!