Well, after about 5 hours with both me and my hubby digging in the garden trying to remove a layer of gravel 18 inches deep, we give up. My parents were over for the holiday dinner tonight (side missive: Even after having been married and on my own for nearly 12 years now, it really feels like a milestone to have my parents over for dinner without a big to do or any major cleaning.), and we showed off our garden accomplishments with great pride. We talked about all of the problems and challenges we had overcome so far, and the many more we had to go.
My mother is really my first experience of the concept of fertility in my life. Not only did she bear me and my brother (obviously), but her garden over burgeons continually. She gardens like fish swim, as if she were born to it. When spending time in her gardens I can feel her love and attention oozing back out of the plants and the earth. As a child I fondly remember thinking of the new flowers in the garden as springing up beneath where she had set to sketch and weed the evening before. Her abundance in this respect has always inspired me and driven me to pursue a fertile abundance in my own life, and to nurture and rear new life and growth around me. And for many years I have always had a black thumb. And so I turned my efforts to the harvest part of the cycle, something I do excel at naturally. I am excellent once the plants are grown, and at wild crafting (ethically and sustainably of course), and in making the preparations and storing and preserving the harvest both in edibles, medicinals, and now magical plants and their parts. But never before could I grow anything myself. I killed any number of very hardy houseplants, including cacti and air ferns. And in the garden at our last house I managed no plants, and to kill off all of the honeysuckle, mints and poison ivy that was taking over when we moved in. So, to say the least, to share in the pride of my garden with my mother is quite a heart swelling moment. She even commented this evening that she never thought I would be working in the garden unless I was helping someone with a harvest.
Anyways, back to the garden of gravel. My mom suggested that we simply plant what we have in the ground and fold in some compost and just go from there. When she saw how much work it was going to be to try and take the gravel out she said it was just too much and we should just try to work with it. And you know, I had forgotten her wisdom of going with the flow and working with the land itself. I am so glad I can still hear her when I need it most.
A simple piece of practical advice about my garden may not seem like much, but the joy of hearing the wisdom of my mother, from my mother is a very big thing to me, and something that really drives the joy wheels of my life.