on gardening

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    No Idea But In Things Paid Member

    In the Green Gulch glasshouse we are nursing a decidedly ailing Bodhi tree that pines in every cell of its being for Mother India. Our Bodhi tree, Ficus religiosa, or the sacred fig tree, is a descendant of the original enlightenment tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha took his place more than 2,500 years ago. Inclining longingly toward the Indian subcontinent where it thrives as a robust, stout-hearted being, our fog-bound Bodhi tree stoically endures the coastal cold of these late autumn nights, yearning for sun-ripened mango breezes and for a certain saffron-robed sage of old. More »
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    And Give Thanks For This Food Paid Member

    In La Unión, a village in northwestern Colombia, the soil is rich and dark. Food crops like corn, beans, yucca, and rice thrive, as do the export crops: baby bananas, cocoa beans, and avocados. The earth gives so much that during the mango season the fruit falls off the trees to rot on the ground. During avocado season, the huge, light-green avocados are so plentiful that the people often feed them to their pigs. More »
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    Grassroots Dharma Paid Member

    Gardening is radical work, with deep, disobedient roots like those of a solitary rye grass plant punching down through stiff shale to fan out in a grassroots network five miles long. Gardening is political work, connecting people and plants and stirring up new life out of uncommon ground. And gardens belong to all beings who love and depend on them, from blind moles to the frontline gardeners at City Slicker Farm, in West Oakland, who grow Ruby Crescent potatoes in old tires, stacked high above toxic ground. More »
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    The Medicine Wheel Garden Paid Member

    My dharma sister of twelve precious years died this past winter by her own hand at the edge of her garden, in the curt junction of November meteor showers crossing over ripe persimmons on a bare branch. I loved her complex garden—it was like her mind, a labyrinth of roses pulling you down, out of conventional reality and into the deep well of time. It was a spirit garden, not a religious place. “Religion is for those scared to death of hell,” she liked to quip, repeating a popular dharma joke. “Spirituality is for those who have been there.” More »
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    Wild Iris Paid Member

    Spring is bellowing out now in California, full-throated spring, and I can barely catch my breath amid her explosive arias and high-pitched scales that run from January through the end of April. Time in the garden is told by linked events, and I mark the rapid ascent of spring by the unfurling of one of my favorite harbinger flowers, the wild iris of the Northwest Coast. With a mixture of panic and delight I notice the first iris blade, a slim white stiletto hidden within folds of wind-burned foliage. The winter pruning of elephant heart plums or the Gallica roses is still unfinished, and already spring irises are beginning to unsheathe! More »
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    Scat Paid Member

    A year ago I could not see across the thicket of the late spring garden, so dense was the tangle. Arched canes of heavily perfumed Ispahan roses looped over mounded beds of lime butter lettuce. The lettuce coiled in soft circles around plump cranberry beans just beginning to twine their way up stalks of Tarahumara sunflowers. In the heart of this May jungle I remembered a line from the poet and meditation practitioner Gretel Ehrlich: “Leaves are the verbs that conjugate the seasons,” she observed. More »