Violet and the Garden Evolution

Stay curious

Back in March, “stay curious” was the guiding principle for my experimenting with art. Since then, I have continued with my group doing abstract art and also taken a six-session watercolor for the total beginner class. There remains a need to get some more facility with using paint and pencil in order to get ideas out of my head and into the world. But, as I noticed in March, the benefit of doing art is the change in what I notice in the world.

This violet took up residence in my front walk at least five or six springs ago. This year, I paid attention to her.

violet growing from sidewalkI call that a win. I look at all the watercolor skills I picked up! Next up, drawing. Even though I am mostly working abstract, I need to get better at drawing what I see. What is in my head is not getting to the paper yet.

I have consciously not weeded away plants that take up residence outside my flowerbed. I have a general sense of anarchy when it comes to flowers. I’ve been walking past this little violet, ignoring her blooming self for a few weeks every year. Not this year. That’s a win.

When I worked in real estate as an exclusive buyer’s agent, I did a majority of my work in the evenings and around the weekend days. My spouse worked 9-5 Monday to Friday. I had alone time during the lightly scheduled weekdays. At that time, I made a habit of having coffee near my flowerbed and noticing them every day. In those years, I coaxed the Sweet Autumn clematis to grow in specific ways along fishing lines. For one or two or three years, there were morning glories along with them. This involved going out every morning and moving the vines in the direction that I wanted them to go. We had a nice relationship, those flowers and I, even though I was a little bossy.

I started running my own company (while still being an agent) in 2008. That landed me in the grind of 50-60 hour workweeks with 72 hours on call. In 2016, I stopped working directly as an agent (except when I pinch hit for my office, when agents are sick or on vacation). When the grind ended, the habit of coffee (and breakfast, and lunch!) at my desk didn’t end. The flowers went their own way, with only occasional nudges from me.

There is no rational reason that it took until 2023 for me to step out again.

Seeking advice

Part of what brought me outside again was, literally, a ray of sunshine. We had a Norway Maple tree in front of our house until this April. I liked the tree and named him Sven. He was hurt badly in a Gypsy moth infestation and never fully recovered. By this year, he needed to be euthanized.

The tree was hell on the garden. It made shade. Its roots made the soil dry, and its leaves and seeds changed the chemical make-up of the soil. Because of the tree, only the most easy-to-grow things made it more than a year. I went through hundreds of plants that could not take the soil conditions and the shade.

Now, without the tree, the flowerbed is in full sun. The choices are mind-boggling. Job one is to thin the current plants and weed out the goutweed and black swallow wort. After that, it will be replanting time. I’ll have a patch about 8 feet by 8 feet that will be totally empty. Any ideas?


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