Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Secret Gardens

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!


Mary Lou said...

Up on Adak Island, right in the middle of the Aleutian chain is a lake on the North side of the island,.Lake Andrew, and on the North side of that lake is a big berm keeping it from being part of the Bering Sea. All along the Sea side of this berm there are THOUSANDS of big round rocks. bigger than bowling balls and perfectly round. kinda like they were stacked there by the GOds to be used as cannon balls!

Sandy said...

Your gardens sound as though they would make me feel very much at peace. I love looking at and being in gardens. Serene is the perfect word for how I feel when sitting amidst one no matter how small. My favorites are ones that have a mixture or variety as you have talked of. Mine are most definitely works in progress as I left my favorites when we moved. Yours are lovely and I like how you pattern your stones.

chumly said...

Looks like you have a bit of heaven on earth.

robin andrea said...

Your secret gardens are beautiful, Rain. I've been thinking our yard needs a Kwan Yin and a Buddha. Wonderful contemplative presence that they bring to a yard.

Suzann said...

Love your gardens - hidden, private outdoor spaces are so special - your's are beautiful, Rain. Thank you for sharing these spaces - serene indeed.

Carolyn said...

walking your gardens with your words in my hand I felt serene, thanks for that! Great post and a look inside your spirit at what your gardens mean to you.

Dick said...

I love gardens but am not good at making them myself. It probably has a lot to do with my allergies. Some of the best ones have been created by nature. There are also some good indoor gardens I have seen. If you haven't been to Biosphere II near Oracle, AZ, try to go. It may be torn down before long to build more houses.

As to rocks, did you ever see the 1953 Lucille Ball & Desi Arnez movie, "The Long, Long Trailer?" She is a rock collector there with disasterous results. It is over 50 years old but is still a fun movie to watch. And it is available on video (I have it.)

Parapluie said...

I always look forward to seeing your back kitchen "secret" garden because I never enter your home through the front door. From the point of view of one who visits, this garden is a doorman of sorts. This unconventional approach is a beautiful casual ranch life greeting from a garden that makes me feel welcome.