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