Tending the Garden

  I have been thinking a lot about gardens lately. It began last week when driving to the studio. The route I take goes up a hill through a canyon and with all the rain we have had this winter the canyon hillsides are in full bloom...wild mustard, Black Eyed Susans and daisies all competing waving their electric yellow heads. Brilliant orange poppies and tiny purple and white flowers wave too with the trees and shrubs creating a dramatic multi green background. And the air is filled with the smell of ground warming in the morning sun.
  All this reminds me of early mornings spent in gardens I have tended over the years the last of which was the backyard garden I planted while caring for my father. When I moved in the yard was all weeds and jumble. My father’s time and energy had been focused on taking care of my mother.
  Each morning after breakfast I would go out and clear a space. The first space I cleared I planted sunflowers. You can always count on sunflowers. They are strong and resilient and love to stand tall facing the sun. When they began to die back I cut off the flowers and wove their stems through the chainlink fence for the birds to feast on.
  The next Spring I planted Icelandic Poppies. They are so lovely with their tall thin stems and tissue like petals. I planted a packet of seeds for blue poppies and another for pink. When the petals dropped and the seed pods dried I broke them open scattering the seeds for the next year’s blooms...and bloom they did but to my surprise they were not just solid blue and pink as the year before, but variegated colors of pink with white edges or stripes and the same with the blue. And each year they came back a bit altered from the year before.
  The garden grew as I cleared more and more space. Avocado trees began sprouting up from seeds I had thrown into the compost. A fruiting peach tree and nectarine tree also sprouted and grew from compost seeds. It was a lovely garden and I tended it until my father passed and we sold the house.
  I miss tending a garden. So today I am posting these paintings in honor of resilient sunflowers and ever changing poppies. 
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Sunflowers 5" x 7" oil on canvas board 2017

Pink Poppy 5" x 7" oil on canvas board 2017