Garden Update and Haus am See

Colette from Bealtaine Cottage has a newer, private blog for 12 Euros per year, to which I happily subscribe. Late in September, she shared a post called, “Tolerating the Intolerable!” The post discusses how the traditional medical industry treats depression with drugs instead of suggesting people address why they feel depressed. In many cases, the causes are obvious, and depression an appropriate response to intolerable conditions. Colette also shares the healing power of Nature, giving examples of how Nature acts like the balm of Gilead.

I left a comment there, since these last few weeks have felt like such a removal of the intolerable here in Goshen. Expanding lush gardens into the yard next door, creating a sacred office, classroom and potluck space with two guestrooms and then witnessing all the many guests wandering, delighted, in the gardens feels like a reclamation of several magnitudes on all levels. Here’s the comment I left on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, followed by this week’s photos in the gardens:

“It’s so very true! When we first moved to this area with its factories, poverty, patriarchal religions and broken land, I found it so depressing — especially the first winter. It hurt my soul to leave our home, because it was just so ugly. When the first spring came, I got to work on the garden and was able to justify all the time, money and effort I poured into it because it was “still cheaper and far more effective than therapy.” Now, our yard is a balm to the soul, not just for me, but for everyone who visits. It’s not anywhere near “done” in terms of rejuvenation projects, and planting, but the absence of Nature can itself cause severe depression. In that case, the only true antidote IS Nature! And my, how She heals — even those who didn’t realize they needed healing. 🙂 Thanks and blessings! XXX”

People who know our house and garden as “Faery Hof” have asked if I’ve named the Blue House next door. Actually, David did. We call it the “Haus am See,” from this song:

Yes, it’s in German, and David (who speaks fluent German and Dutch) translates the lyrics idiomatically to describe this imaginary lake house at the end of the street, which magically transforms mundane life into ideal, happy times full of community. The light blue color and our friend Jerry’s comment that the gardens “are the Goshen equivalent of beachfront property” gave David the idea. We’ve loved and referenced this song since Madison. Like the song’s sometimes paradoxical lyrics, the garden has shown some unusual time overlays, just like in the Faery Realm, in which everything buds, blooms, leafs and fruits all at once. Take this forsythia, for example, dressed in summer green, fall purple, and the yellow flowers of spring:


Out back, we’ve got heat loving okra finally blooming now that it’s cold outside, plus summer watermelon ripening alongside nasturtiums and an aronia bush turning scarlet for fall:


Basically, everything’s still explosively lush:


front yard

The front porch and dining room of Haus am See overlook the front yard winding paths. We had dinner guests the other night as payment for helping us move the former office’s futon into the new accommodations, and we all sat with the door open, enjoying the views and breeze:

from blue house porch

Even the backsides of the raised beds out back continue to overflow:

raised bed

malabar spinach and friends

Today is David’s mom’s birthday, but his sister, nephew, dad, David and I all celebrated with her last night. I brought a pint of raspberries from the yard and David got us vegan chocolate ice cream and regular chocolate ice cream for the others. David’s mom gets weekly or twice weekly bouquets from me all season, flowers permitting, but yesterday’s was extra special. As I wandered the yard picking different zinnias, a honeybee decided to sip from each flower in the bouquet, dining for the full half hour it took me to choose and arrange the blooms:

birthday bouquet

This week one of my favorite garden helpers ensured I finished two long standing projects. The herb spiral out back near the horseshoe shaped asparagus beds is now built and filled, though not yet planted:

herb spiral

After months of two giant loads of compost, the front yard next door finally has its witch hazel planted for very, very early spring color, two holly bushes transplanted under the windows, a climbing rose transplanted under the trellis, and areas now composted and marked out for various ornamental fruit bushes and bulbs. Lots and lots of bulbs! It still needs mulching, and transplanting of a privet hedge for the far right border:

blue house

It really is a joy to watch visitors wander around the paths and commune with butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, bees and other garden residents.


To complete the enchanted garden vibe, the fairy tale pumpkins are growing huge this year:

fairy tale pumpkins

Last Saturday, I hosted our Autumnal Wheel of the Year celebration at Haus am See, and, I felt so grateful for the community and our honoring of all the seasons. Earlier that day, a different gardener in training helped me remove spent garden plants and pokeweed in preparation for Monday’s refuse pickup. I usually compost things, but poke takes forever to break down, and those berries are prolific. I’ll let the city deal with those, mixed with plenty of chicken poo to heat through the seeds. As we pieced away at the overgrown poke, I felt an ache in my stomach I’ve not felt since April. It hit me that all this lushness will soon shrivel under frost and lay dormant until next year. I’d spent the past few weeks in complete denial of this beautiful, prolific garden season coming to a close, so that evening’s quiet ritual, good company, and huge vegan potluck helped ease the transition.

Of course, I’ve been researching and gradually planting year round color, and I remind myself that next spring’s bulbs will come earlier and more prolifically than ever before. Faery Hof and Haus am See are far from finished, but the Nature and community they provide on all levels continue to amaze and delight David, me and others. The local soup kitchen will receive over a hundred pounds of green striped cushaw squash from me this year, plus collards, collards, collards out the wazoo. The garden has also allowed me to cater most classes with meals made from fresh, homegrown produce, and it has provided bags and bags of produce to friends, little old ladies, friends of little old ladies, potlucks, and dinners galore for the generous people who’ve helped us in various ways this summer and beyond.

Not to mention two full freezers of raspberries, summer squash and tomatoes. From intolerable to wonderful. If it can happen here, truly, it can happen anywhere.

Blessed Be!

21 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sky on October 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Ah, there are my Fairy Tale pumpkins! Nestled together so cozy and huge, with promises of tasty pumpkin items to enjoy in the future. I was so inspired by the photo you sent me of them yesterday, that I made pumpkin pancakes with lemon syrup for dinner last night. Mmm mmm – GOOD!


  2. Posted by manyhahama1955 on October 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Fantabulous Gloriosous, were the words that came to mind. Yes, Blessed Be! Happy growing, harvesting and eating!


  3. LOL, Sophia! I love that expression. 🙂 Thank you!


  4. Mmmm, sounds delicious, Sky! I found a third one far enough along to keep, too. The flowers have been getting fertilized like crazy the past couple weeks, so I have had tons of just started pumpkins, but there’s no way they’d finish before frost. I’ve cut off the new ones, so that those already growing will have a better chance to ripen more outside. 🙂


  5. Posted by Kieron on October 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Sooner or later, someone is going to mistake you for Tatiana. Or Gloriana. Or one of the Faerie Queens. 🙂


  6. LOL, well, given that Tania was actually (for real) named for Titania, I’ll need to be one of the others! Some children in town already call me “The Faery Woman” so you might be right. 😉


  7. Posted by Kieron on October 2, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Titania, I meant, not Tatiana. Stupid autocorrect! 🙂 Well I’d count myself lucky to accomplish even a fraction of what you have shown here over time. Although I will admit, I spent way more on plants this year than I ever had, and I still had plenty of money left over for necessities. 🙂 I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, definitely a lesson in there! If I start thinking I might want to buy more trees or flowers, money pours in faster than available space to plant them. 🙂


  9. Posted by Kieron on October 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in the flow after adjusting my attitude about money, and I think I will be bolder yet come spring. Since I do have an entire house to run and a full-time job to hold down, I haven’t the energy to keep the yard up once it’s in full sail and it gets a little weedy and wild looking. As for me, the neighbor kids already refer to me as a fairy, and little do they know how they inadvertently pay me a compliment thereby! 😉

    Anyhoo thanks for the link to Collette’s article. Anytime I can persuade a client to sit outside in the sun, or go for a walk with me instead of sitting inside their apartment, they always end up feeling better and uplifted.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely work! Love the herb spiral 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Posted by James G on October 3, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Very beautiful Laura. My garden is done except for some mums, so I love seeing these pics. Thank you.


  12. Thanks so much, Willowcrow! I’ve wanted an herb spiral since we moved into our place, but nowhere on our side of the yard worked for a variety of reasons. The old stump worked perfectly as an inner form holder for the compost and rocks. 🙂


  13. Thank you, James! I love stretching things out on either side of the seasons. 🙂


  14. […] people might remember that I originally became interested in Haus am See (our name for the Blue House), because I wanted a writing office with better views. The downstairs […]


  15. […] truly feels like an alternate universe. Whenever clients, students or friends walk into “Haus am See,” their eyes open wide, then they relax and sigh with relief. “Ohhhhh, this feels so […]


  16. […] good dates for you in later May or early-mid June. This class would take place in Goshen, IN at the blue house (Haus Am See), and by then, the gardens should be gathering blooms and […]


  17. […] ($177 if prepaid by 5/11/16). Haus Am See offers a larger classroom than our home, but there has been a lot of interest over the years in […]


  18. […] ($177 if prepaid by 5/11/16). Haus Am See offers a larger classroom than our home, but there has been a lot of interest over the years in […]


  19. […] some point,” everything came together in only three weeks, so we took a mini-honeymoon at Haus Am See. We already have some big events and shifts intended for 2017, to which our marriage is apparently […]


  20. […] literally two months of packing, cleaning, sorting, teaching, and gifting, first with Haus Am See and now with our home, mini farm and food forest of the past almost five years, today we turned in […]


  21. […] the first time introducing our home’s name. In Goshen, we lived in Faery Hof and I rented Haus Am See as an office. We figured our new home would reveal its name in good time, and David’s weekend […]


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