A truly fulfilling delight this spring has been spending time and dedicating energy to observing the growth of my English garden. In reflection that time is of mindful rest and thus restoring energy, fitting delightfully into my pacing lifestyle. This years garden reveal has been captured, photographed and documented unlike ever before, of course this is exactly how I planned it last year and awaited springs return. It struck me the other day that some of my flower pressings could mark the last of some tree, shrubs or plants that I have been acquainted with the whole of my life. I feel heartwarming joy knowing that a piece of them will forever be with me nestled inside of my flower press book.
The first signs of growth began in my south facing front garden beds nestled in close to the house with the warmth generated in the first of the days of the spring sun. The common Snowdrops, Dutch, Siberian and Early crocus, common Periwinkle, Siberian Squill and Bloodwort were the first to break through spring ground and reach to the light. These early days of spring were filled with promise of what was yet to come, a new beginning and fresh growth. I follow the seasons closely in my new lifestyle, spending much time in winter keeping warm with more resting. Filling my energy stores to reach for the sun in spring and get my hands in the dry hard dirt.
With spring I am able to move into the garden, slowly strolling the garden beds for some gentle movement. It marks a time when my body can move with more ease as the temperature nurtures such ability. The fresh air is good for my brain, basic blood flow, gently waking my lungs and my heart without stress. I cherish this time of year with every moment and every bit of ability it provides me with. It is in these moments of the year that I am truly and authentically inspired creatively enriching my practice for the remainder of the year. My garden truly is my place of healing and inspiration, I am so grateful as it is within my ability to enjoy without worsening my conditions or causing greater disability.
A practice has developed authentically as it does with me, which includes mindful resting, strolling the garden for exercise, cutting first blooms for flower pressing and photography. This is followed by more rest as I sit to do a drawing in situ, often from several different angles and in macro focus capturing the bloom in front of me in it’s natural setting. This experience gives me such delight and captivates my whole being peacefully. Once I bring cuttings indoors or to the garden studio, I prepare it for a flower pressing. This week I dedicated a tin flower pot with scissors attached for collecting cuttings with ease. I like to have a few cuttings for a flower pressing as it fills my handmade English flower press full. Funnily, this week I filled my flower press full and had to commit a heavy large old print bird book for pressing several blooms.
As April turned into May along came, Forsythia, Grape Hyacinth, Tulips, Bugleweed, Spotted Dead Nettle, Woodland Forget-me-not, Prairie Crabapple, Purple Fountain Beech, Swallowwort, Garlic Mustard, Virbinum and Bleeding Heart added itself to the garden beds proudly. As is life, some of springs first flowers began to die off. Early in my life with chronic illness and disability I was struck rather bluntly by how my lifestyle mimics that of my garden. How a bloom comes and goes elusively much like my energy and abilities. The garden reminds one to live in the moment, be grateful for what comes ones way and accepting of the loss once a flower is done for the season. For those of us living with disability much can be learned from nature.
Into the month of May, the familiar and loving sight of twenty-three tall reaching tulips were growing in my front flower bed underneath my large living room picture window. These tulips were planted by the hand of my late father and I cherish each one deeply. Knowing that his rough dirt stained hands from hours of daily gardening, the hands that planted the bulbs, the deep red tulips blooms are heartwarming and eye catching each spring. Like I was seeing them for the first time. A wee bit of my dad grows and lives on each new growing season, I am so overwhelmingly grateful to have this be part of my life. The red tulips need to be cut now as they are finished for the season, they had a glorious showing this year being tall, red and proud. And I captured every moment of them this year. With satisfaction I will end today as the Solomon’s Seal, Lilacs and Honeysuckle bloom in the back garden, thus I know I will be back with another addition of The Darling Blooms soon. Until then enjoy some of the springs flowers and if you aren’t able to I have included some of my photographs from my garden beds for you.
Blog no. 16
About the Author
Jane Louise Holden
On Jane’s Blog, I authentically write about real life experiences with loss, suffering and acceptance as a woman artist living with disability. There are times while in my studio I step away from my abstract paintings and turn towards words. My garden often inspires written words in the same way it fuels my paintings, words come to me connecting with thoughts as I sit in quiet peace with my garden.