In my garden, I have plants that love sun and don’t like wet feet; as in my plumeria aka ‘frangipani; or my Cuban oregano; or my gorgeous hanging baskets of purslane and my sturdy red pineapples. And then I have ones that love a good soaking and a little bit of sunlight – like my callaloo and peppers and tomatoes (who, by the way, don’t like to get their leaves wet), and most of the veggies in my garden. And now that Fall is here, the mangos and sugar-apples have gone dormant, while the pumpkins and squash and eggplants and peas and sorrel are getting ready to take off in my veggie-beds. They didn’t do very well during the Summer months (neither did the strawberries, blueberries, lettuce or kale), but it may have just been where I had them planted, so I pretty much walk around my backyard daily, just studying and appreciating the changes and the growth.
Analogy for life: Move in harmony with the Sun, Moon and Stars. You can’t force Nature, people, things (or plants) not in season.
Here in Florida in my little garden oasis, I would love to grow tender crops like spinach, exotic fruits like Star-apple or mangosteen, and familiar Caribbean staples like breadfruit and ackee. The 1st year I moved into this current home, I killed many a plant in my attempts to grow produce in the wrong soil, too much sun, not enough water, or fought a never-ending battle with pesky, unconscionable squirrels and obnoxious, greedy landlubbers. I know now that you can’t always follow the label with plant care recommendations for “6 hours of full sun” - in certain parts of Florida this can be very detrimental to most annuals and even some perennials. I’ve learnt that I’ve had to amend my soil with everything I try to grow (my entire family is a family of “Composters”), as my part of Florida is mostly sand with probably a slick of oil mixed in, as the water would just run downhill instead of down to the roots. Xeriscaping is the way to go as it makes the most of your environment and saves you tons of money and heartbreak. (I’m one of those nurses who can care for a dying patient but will wallow in despair when I lose a plant).
Analogy for life: Give thought to the environment in which you choose to live as this is where you will either flourish or struggle. Do your research as to the country, state, city, neighborhood or block you choose to live. Be selective, operate with intention, and never forget that All is temporary. As much as ‘Home’ is necessary – whatever that looks like for you - never stay stuck with people or in any place that no longer serves you. I’ve had to relocate certain plants to other areas of my garden, so as much as uprooting is scary, change can bring growth.
My plants take time to settle in, adjust, grow, thrive and even die. I know this, but yet I probably spend way too much time in the garden impatiently looking to see if I have new produce or flowers (like with my newest Devil’s Trumpet plant). Nothing happens overnight; the DNA of plants and animals and people has its own internal schedule so again, you can’t rush Mother Nature. But one thing you can do: tend your Garden.
Analogy for life: Grow where you are planted, be patient with the process, and I repeat: Tend Your Garden! Weed the garden; fertilize the garden; water the garden; rest the garden when the season is complete; sow new seeds when it is time, and most importantly, enjoy the garden. Same applies to you and your Body: do your house chores; exercise, get a haircut or mani-pedi; schedule a massage; make time for a nap…. And a yummy meal…. And the company of good people who nourish your Soul. Be selective about the people you surround yourself with; Choose a Tribe that is supportive, honest, encouraging, nurturing, positive/forward Thinkers yet can call you on your bullshit when they see it. Make time for yourself – to be alone, to reflect, to rest, to just ‘Be’… Quiet time is under-rated. Even a seed planted deep in the soil takes its time to grow while invisible to us on the outside. The growth process (as it is, even in the garden) teaches us how to be resilient, strong, tenacious, flexible and adaptable, and it is then and only then, that we bloom! And now for a changing of the Guard (seasons); Welcome to Fall in Florida!
“Autumn is more the season of the Soul than of Nature.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
In good health;
Dr. Audrey Steele, L.Ac.