Tuesday, August 2, 2011

EOMV - July (with apologies for the disappearance of June)

Determined to return to Artgarden following an abrupt and unplanned leave of absence last month, I needed to retreat and engage in some genuine soul searching.  The nagging question "why bother" had reared its ugly head,  combined with a multitude of stressful events, and the wretched though inevitable realisation that Alzheimers and schizophrenia are slowly stealing away my much loved family.  A nasty bout of depression appeared to have replaced my usual resilient and patient self, resulting in a very tired, discouraged, and frustrated wife/daughter/mother/caregiver.  Although the term "burnout" is usually associated with this condition, I discovered a rather more appropriate description while browsing through twitter the other day; so much better to relate the whole miserable experience to something in the garden after all - and I can honestly say at this point that I feel pretty much composted (which may not be so bad really...!) 

The Bonica roses in the front border never got pruned back earlier in the year.  As a result, they are now blooming all over the place and have pretty much taken over - something of a metaphor for other uncontrollable events taking place right now.  I can't bring myself to cut them right back, as the flowers are so lovely; instead, I'm gradually getting the job done while preserving as many of the beautiful blooms as possible.

The roses aren't the only things growing rampantly.  The sweet peas (mammoth blend) are over 8 feet tall and completely cover their metal frames.  We have picked armloads for indoors where their gorgeous and evocative scent provides a welcome reminder of summer.  My grandmother used to grow sweet peas too, so they are something of a family tradition.

The front border is at its summer finest right now, with sensation cosmos, nigella, and a pink rambling rose (unknown cultivar) providing the cottage garden look I had hoped for.

This is the first year I've grown nigella, and I will certainly repeat it.  Lovely blue flowers nestled in lacy foliage provide a light airy splash of colour.

Detail of the sensation cosmos.  This year, I have tried to grow  all our flowers and veggies from seed.  Strangely enough, I could not find any seed for the sonata variety of cosmos (which I usually grow) which is why there are none to be found in the garden!  Lots of sonata plants in the local garden centres, but no seed...  Not to worry, I have sonata and sensation cosmos seed for next year thanks to the dilligence of a fellow gardening buddy - and will definitely be growing these wonderful summer flowers again.

As you may have guessed, my favourite colour in the garden is blue which includes all the purple, lilac, and true blue hues.  This close up of  our sweet peas hilights the gorgeous delicate blooms in a lovely soft shade of lilac.
Although I have mostly featured flowers on EOMV, my husband and I are enthusiastic allotment gardeners too.  This year, we have about 12 different varieties of tomatoes (all grown from seed).  The poor weather earlier in the year has affected the quantity of fruit and harvest dates - but we are now enjoying the small and cherry tomatoes.  Favourites so far:  tumbler and gardener's delight.

This clematis surprised us all by growing vigorously through the trellis, around a bristlecone pine, over the fence, and into the neighbour's garden!  Lovely big purple flowers.  Good to know that something enjoys the water-logged boggy corner of our garden...

These lovely snapdragons are another summer favourite.  These lemon yellow ones are found in planters located around the house.  They are biennials of course, and well worth the wait.
This is our "planter bench".  The seat itself needs some repair, but is a perfect location for my two "rescued" hanging baskets, purchased for next to nothing as they were both bone dry and the plants virtually dead.  A little tlc, lots of water, and some slow release fertilizer have worked wonders, and I'm delighted with the combination of  red geraniums and white bacopa (yeah, I know I broke the "seeds only" rule but the price of the baskets was just too good to pass up). 

I'm gardening again, and trying to stay mindful of my own stress levels.  Self-care for me has to involve time spent working in the garden - that's clear.  I'm also learning to adapt and delegate.  We take advantage of several community programs to assist in the caregiving puzzle, and a brief hospital stay has also stabilized things.   Our family is evolving, and part of the challenge involves staying ahead of the changes.  Artgarden is all around us - offering peace, reflection, and serenity.  How could I not "bother" with it.  Artgarden provides nature, unspoilled woodland, safety, memories, beautiful flowers, a koi pond, home-grown veggies, and a place to be together.  One day at a time...


  1. Welcome back! Lovely blog and wonderful photos, I love the EOMV because it is like peeking over the garden fence but being allowed to. I found Twitter and garden blogs are a great way to realise that when I get "the black dog" that I am not alone and we can bounce back. Writing and photography are a great medium to feel brighter. Thank you! Ronnie (My EOMV http://wp.me/p1jkAI-DY)

  2. You have some beautiful flowers in your garden, my word. The sweet peas!?! I adore them!!! Praying that you will be able to enjoy your garden as a respite...:)