Wherever I have lived, from tiny apartments with only a doorway, to where I currently am with unlimited acres, I have planted gardens. Wherever I go, I admire those belonging to others, from huge ones like Butchart Gardens in Victoria, to postage stamp-sized ones along a road I might be walking.
On the farm, I could have acres of flowers and lawns, but I don't want that, much as I might admire it for others. I prefer to look out my window and see a mixture of views from tamed to untamed. The gardens I have are small, secret gardens, each with their own purpose and feeling.
I leave room for open spaces where grasses and weeds flourish-- well not quite so lushly now with the sheep grazing near the house, but there are wildflowers in the apple orchard-- or were yesterday. And beyond that a thicket of trees perfect for a fawn to be born.
Each of my garden spaces are works in process. Whatever I have today might change tomorrow. For me, gardens are organic, meant to flow from one place to another, with little hidden spaces, but all working together to create happy homes for the plants within. I also don't want a garden that requires constant maintenance. I like gardening, I don't love to do it all the time.
Besides my plants, I enjoy creating small vignettes with rocks and shapes, meditative spaces with somewhere near to sit and contemplate. I have several rock benches that the cats favor on summer afternoons-- even if they don't pay mind to the rock combinations just beyond.
There are several distinct areas and each has its own separate purpose. On one side of the house is the vegetable garden, surrounded by climbing roses and a few flowers . It's for lettuce, beans, corn, tomatos, and squash. On the other side of the house is the flower garden where tea roses, lilies, and herbs flourish with a bit of lawn for a child to have a tea party. Off the deck to the west is the meditation garden, where the new table is a place to sit and think-- or eat dinner.
Everywhere I can, I place round rocks. For a good ten years, I have been collecting them, from the smallest ones in the creek beds to what Native Americans call Grandfather Rocks in Wyoming-- large round stones tumbled into place by glaciers. All natural round rocks might be close to round but never perfectly so-- yet. There is always the next one.
With the enclosing fences made up of squares and rectangles, a buggy rim found in the creek-- old, a bit beaten, an appropriate metaphor for life-- was the right shape to accent the Buddha as he sits on a rock in placid serenity-- reminding me to be more peaceful myself! If he doesn't do the job, Kwan Yin might as she is representative of peace and serenity.
Does any of this make me more peaceful and serene myself? I wish!