we’ve been celebrating rich’s daughter’s graduation this past week, and had gorgeous weather in which to put family members to work in the garden. rich’s parents visited for a week and helped us clear the way for digging the second half of the garden. i had hacked down the salmonberry in very early spring, and left it laying in place while the rain pelted down (hoping to slow down erosion) and rich had pruned a lot of the lower branches from the hemlock trees at the north end of the garden. removing that pile of debris took the four of us a couple of hours. it would have taken me all day by myself so i was grateful for the help!
i took a picture from an upstairs window, once the second half was cleared, but before i dug it. (the wheelbarrow is in the second, newly-cleared section.)
in the first half (where the spiral bed was already shaped), the clover i planted in the pathways is sprouting. i’m going for “living mulch” that adds nitrogen to the soil, as well as groundcover so i don’t have to weed the pathways.
hardy early birds like arugula, radishes, and kales are sprouting in the beds, and the leek and onion starts seem happy, in spite of a late frost on may 10th! (i objected to the frost, but apparently i was not in charge. luckily i haven’t planted out anything that couldn’t handle a little cold.) peas, daikon, and a hugelkultur bed full of potatoes shrugged off the frost easily enough, in spite of my fretting.
but that’s the way it goes in gardening anyway. i love the spiral that is built right into this garden because spirals have always been symbolic for me. i wore a spiral necklace while i was overdue-ly pregnant and while quinn was an infant, it felt just right for that time in my life of birth. but of course birth and new beginnings are only one part of the spiral, and death is always around the corner. i am not trying to be morbid, it’s just on my mind because i have just lost my kitty. but also because the garden has me always mindful that quite a lot of things don’t make it. we all eventually make the long journey. we do our best to nurture and baby things along while they are here, but death sweeps along in its inexorable way.
it just makes me want to be even more tied to the earth, and grounded in this rich goodness. so i spent my mother’s day digging salmonberry roots out of the second half of the garden, and wouldn’t have had it any other way. walking the spiral to deposit another batch of mulch material became a sort of meditation, as i pondered the new guardian spirit kitty warrior at the corner of the garden.
her body is there, under that peach-or-plum tree quinn and i began growing from a pit when he was 2 years old and kitty was still primarily his nap guardian and my gardening dreams were a twinkle in my eye (and peach-or-plum pits in some pots). i can imagine her spirit sprawled there beneath the tree in the lemon balm, alongside the angelica, kitty angel that she is, while her body turns back into the earth below, quite literally pushing up the daisies we salvaged from the sod we dug for her corner bed.
quinn spent mother’s day working away on his all-day chosen activity of dinosaur coloring. i set him up at the picnic table, halfway between my all-day dig, and rich’s all-day burning brush pile. we do not lack focus in this family!
this is a fresh yesterday afternoon photo, taken after i spent my day digging and raking and shaping. i even got some more potatoes planted in one section (with beans, flax, and horseradish), as well as a few lettuce and kale starts transplanted into the second half of the spiral. i’d like to have it full of planted things by the time the rain comes back next week to really soak them all in.
walking around in the first half, shooting those pea-potato-daikon photos, i noticed that everywhere i mixed in what i thought was “finished” compost from last year, tomato and mustard green volunteers abound. life, continuing to spiral onward, in its inexorable way.