Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mother Nature's Garden Lessons Learned


Over this summer season, I have learned many lessons from the garden. Each season teaches me more about plants, diseases, pests, soil, wildlife, and landscape design. Having gardened for about 30 years, I find the garden never ceases to amaze, entertain, inspire, and teach me. I think that is one of the many reasons I find it interesting and continue to make time for it in my life. The need to create is very strong in my soul, and although the garden does not fulfill all my needs in that area, it does offer great artistic challenges and beautiful satisfaction. It also fulfills my need to solve problems. There is almost nothing more satisfying than finding a natural method to deter a plant pest or prevent a disease.


No matter how much I have learned this season, the most profound lessons have been from Mother Nature herself. She has taught me some new lessons and deepened my understanding in other areas. Through her natural rhythm, she has demonstrated the beauty and delicate details of new life. Her continuous bounty and overwhelming burst of colors and textures breeds a gratitude that is deserving of contemplation. And her power and strength is not always a pleasant or welcome visitor but warrants reverence and regard, nonetheless.


Protection

On several occasions this summer season, I have witnessed and indirectly cared for several bird nestlings and fledglings.

Flying Practice with the Wrens

Growing Up...Cardinal

Sometimes it is difficult to know where the boundaries should be or when or when not to interfere in a wild bird's fate. Watching from afar and protecting from a distance is the best possible gift I can give any wild animal for whom I choose to offer care. Mostly, I watched these very small, almost featherless, beings grow to strong and capable birds that now fly through and around my garden, eating insects and providing me with periodic glimpses.


Having somewhat participated in their care gives me even more incentive to protect them and do nothing that would harm them. I feel closer to them and want nothing more than their health and happiness.


Appreciation

Although I have, from time to time, looked at my garden with awe and gratitude, I certainly do not do it often enough.

Garden Love

There is a tremendous amount of work that went into each garden bed, each plant's care, and the overall design. I am not a professional, by no means, but I have worked very, very hard to create a garden that offers shelter, food, and water to wildlife--and beauty and respite to us.


This year, I found some time to stop planning and doing---and sit and appreciate the garden for its astonishing resilience and unrefined charm. Most of its beauty comes from nature. I am merely the planner, the mover, and the arranger.


Respect, Trust, and Acceptance

This season has brought its share of natural disasters. Severe thunderstorms, earthquakes, and hurricanes have had their way with my garden.

Searching for the Tranquil Garden

After Every Storm The Sun Will Smile...

Besides the damage and loss, I think the worrying has been the most distressing. Feeling that sense of unease and feeling helpless are not good conditions for a gardener who takes on the role of sentinel. Regardless of what role I believe I must play, mother nature is the one in whom I should place my trust.

Hurricane-damaged Butterfly Weed
It does me or my garden no good to hold on so tightly to the way things are that I become distressed.

Young sprouts...
She is the true guardian of my garden, and it is for me to work with her--no matter what changes she decides to make.


Life does not flow along in a stale and stagnant manner, and so, the garden never remains the same.

Please take a stroll over to PlantPostings to see what other gardeners have learned this season. I am also joining in Hope Grows Day at Sweet Bean Gardening.

I am joining An Oregon Cottage for her Best of 2011 Tuesday Garden Party.

©Michelle A. Potter

63 comments:

  1. A very thoughtful and philosophical post - you are quite right we are only the caretakers and stewards of this world.

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  2. What a profound post. sometimes you simply have to "be" in the garden and everything carries on..

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  3. Beautiful photos. My favorites are those of the butterflies. The first photo is exquisite of the handiwork of God - such beautiful colors and attention to details, even the gorgeous pinkish-purpleish "eyes" that serve to "scare" would-be predators.

    You've done an excellent job in caring for wildlife and plants.

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  4. Aww! The babies are so sweet! I feel as you, when it comes to having some protectiveness in my yard. When I speak of my "Hitchcock birds," I do love them and their antics of silliness or bossiness of there spot. Stewards? Yes! Aren't we all in some way? Mother Nature amazes me every day. When "she" taunts us, I just smile. She has a plan as usual... ha-ha-ha...

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  5. Oh I love your photos too! Especially the last one. :) Your last comment is so right - we are not in control - but the garden changes right along with us.

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  6. Michelle, that was a beautiful post. I have felt much the same this summer as I work through my renovations. I move things, change things, etc. but Mom Nature always has the last word. The trick is to slow down enough to hear her BEFORE you do something she doesn't like. Thanks for the lovely words and images!

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  7. It is lovely to hear how reflective and thoughtful you are in your work and in your leisure. Your photographs are so intimate, I feel like I am there, especially the chicks, how lovely! The ups and downs, don't I know them...!

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  8. We just commented on each other's blogs at exactly the same time.....interesting?

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  9. Wow..that was beautiful...I have become very much into gardening this year...I have spent days and nights with my flowers...growing from seeds...moving them..and watching them grow...I have made way and have more than I ever thought..no where near yours..but I am working on it slowly...

    It is true this year as hard as I worked we have had a summer full of rain...and then scorching sun and heat...some of my flowers were stagnant..some just kept on going...I use some for drying and pressing..and some I just don't want to touch...I have seen the wonder of three hummingbirds flying through and staying for a bit on my flowers...I never seen them before..not up close...such beauty...the first butterfly picture you have...I saw the same exact one this morning...and I often sit outside and watch the bumble bees, butterflies and grasshoppers...and watch for the insects that like to attack..

    My one problem that upsets me, is the moles and gophers..One minute I am sitting outside gazing at the beauty..and I will leave and come back within minutes to find a deep hole and the whole flower taken down the hole...or later..a limp flower and leaves, only to find the roots were eaten away..I tried gum...and others...but they just won't stay away...if you have any tips...I would love to hear them...and my your garden is gorgeous......

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  10. Really an inspiring post and very well thought out. Your care for your garden and those you encourage to inhabit it is very much heartening. Beautiful images to accompany wonderfully thought out writing. I like your philosophy on the what Mother Nature throws at your garden too.

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  11. @elaine rickett Thanks, Elaine. A caretaker is a very special role to play...I like it.

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  12. @Janet I think that applies to life as well. I have to remind myself from time to time.

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  13. @Your Gardening Friend Those are beautiful 'eyes' on the Common Buckeye,' aren't they? I am glad he was still enough for me to get a good photo. Thank you, Holly, for your kind comments.

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  14. @virginia They are so tiny and helpless at that stage. Sometimes I don't know how they survive at all. I like that you can smile when being taunted...a very wise and peaceful thing to do.

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  15. @Hanni Thanks, Hanni. In some ways, the garden would be boring if it did not change.

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  16. @Sharie I am sure it has been challenging at times during your renovations. Thanks for stopping by and offering your kind words.

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  17. @Foxglove Lane The ups and downs are common among us gardeners. Thank you for stopping by! It is so interesting that we were commenting at the same time...maybe we were on the same wavelength there for a moment.

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  18. Oh Sage One,
    Thanks for sharing your garden in such a hard season. But I do hear a lot of resilience in your voice. Congrats for your spirit.

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  19. What a beautiful ode to gardening lessons! To hear a sage gardener admit to continual learning is inspirational, actually. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and thanks for joining in the "Garden Lessons Learned" meme!

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  20. Thank you for this beautiful post! Garden teaches us, we just need to watch, listen and learn...

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  21. What beautiful reflections. Gardening is a continuous learning process, which I think is part of the appeal!
    Now that I garden, I understand completely your feelings of anxiety about storms, and it makes successful harvests and blooms that much sweeter! Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Beautiful words and photos. I tried to protect a baby sparrow but in vain. Someone wrote to me about his experience of failing to protect a baby bird too.

    Today I posted on kittens. I don't think you want them anywhere near those birds.

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  23. "Hope never dies within a true gardener's Heart."
    Beautiful post, so soul searching.

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  24. Beautiful post!
    Lesson from the garden!

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  25. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade GardensSeptember 4, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    I agree so much with what you had to say. Gardens are about life and really can't be truly enjoyed without relinquishing control. I also think that you can't have a spectacular garden without relinquishing control and going where the plants want to take you.

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  26. From year to year, I'm not sure what my garden will bring. This summer, it was worse for wear and taught me about resiliency. Thanks for sharing your touching and moving thoughts.

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  27. Such a beautiful and thought-provoking post with lovely photos to accompany it. Mother Nature certainly has many lessons to teach us. For me, it has been patience, but her power, especially the past few weeks, also teaches one the need to be resilient and accepting of change. Your positive attitude is very inspiring.

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  28. So profound and true. I think many of us have had similar experiences with wildlife in our gardens this season...you have had to endure far more with Irene and that feeling of distress is powerful...you are correct that Mother Nature is our sentinel and we can only flow with what she has in store...lovely reflections..thx

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  29. Lovely photos and some lovely blooms you have. The Butterflies are gorgeous.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  30. Beautiful post. Gardening is such an ongoing adventure.

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  31. Nice post. I have enjoyed your story.

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  32. Beautiful words and thoughts! I am amazed at how much more in tune I am with the little creatures around me and with nature after having taken up gardening. Being in the garden lets you notice those little creatures that might benefit from a helping hand. It connects us to the world around us that would otherwise be so easy to miss.

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  33. Somewhere between a control freak and anything goes is the true gardner which you have more than mastered as these lovely images show. Your words are full of hope.

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  34. The garden has so much to teach us about life, about pain and loss and about hope and healing. Thank you for a thoughtful and inspiring post. The love you have for your garden and its inhabitants shows!

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  35. What an excellent post. Like you I keep coming back to gardening because there's so much to learn each day and I feel good about the learning. Mother nature is incredible when we pay attention.

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  36. What an inspiring post... I've enjoyed your philosophical views and learned so much ... Thank You for sharing your beautiful garden and thoughts....HUGS

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  37. @My Inspired Space Thank you, Kathleen. I also love all the wildlife that visits my garden. And I know how frustrating it can be to lose some of your plants to animal pests. I will email you with some ideas that may help...good luck!

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  38. @gardenwalkgardentalk.com Thanks, Donna. Sometimes there are gifts after tragedy...and I am trying to discover them.

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  39. @Katie Hertfelder You are welcome, Katie. And thank for stopping by.

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  40. @Patrick's Garden Thanks, Patrick. I am hoping I can bend like the strongest of trees.

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  41. @PlantPostings Thanks, Beth. I don't think life or gardening would be interesting if I didn't continue to learn. And thanks for hosting a wonderful meme!

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  42. @Tatyana@MySecretGarden I am so glad you enjoyed the post, Tatyana. I like the watching, listening, and learning...

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  43. @Bumble Lush I agree...it would be no fun without the continuous learning. I hope to get to a stage where the storms don't bother me as much...more acceptance.

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  44. @One My cats go out with me in the garden from time to time. The birds have been pretty savvy about staying clear of them. I love your kitten photos...so cute!

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  45. @Lola That is beautiful...thanks for sharing it. And thanks for visiting.

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  46. @Malar Thanks, Malar. There were some important lessons this season.

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  47. @Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens The garden is always teaching me, and, obviously, one of the key lessons this season was relinquishing control. I think they with Mother Nature have a better plan than I.

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  48. @GirlSprout It seems we share some similar lessons this season. With the weather as it has been, I am sure many have been forced to learn these lessons. Thank you for your kind words and for visiting.

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  49. @Rose Thanks, Rose. Patience is one I seem to be taught over and over. Sometimes I master it and sometimes I don't. Thanks for visiting.

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  50. @Donna I think many of us have had a challenging and interesting season with all of the weather challenges across the world. Thank you for your kind words, Donna.

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  51. @Sunray Gardens I was lucky to get some photos of them. Sometimes I was a butterfly chaser, and sometimes they seemed to pose for me.

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  52. @Greenearth I like your description of it as an adventure...makes me feel as if it can all be very exciting.

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  53. @greggo Thanks, Greggo. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

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  54. @Indie Gardening does have that affect...makes us mindful of nature.

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  55. @PatioPatch Thanks, Laura. It is a matter of balance, as you say.

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  56. @debsgarden Thanks, Deb. The garden is like life, I think...always offering lessons.

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  57. @Marguerite Marguerite, you are so right. In the end, it makes us feel good.

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  58. @Zaa Your kind words are inspiring...thanks, Zaa.

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  59. Those first three images in particular are really beautiful the detail and colours sing.I think learning how much is possible - or wise - to control in the garden is one of the hardest lessons. Followed only by learning to sit back and enjoy it all occasionally.

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  60. @Janet/Plantaliscious Thank you, Janet. These are lessons that I continue to learn. The garden is always teaching me, and I am very grateful for that.

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  61. A really lovely post and thought provoking. And lovely photos.

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  62. Very beautiful! Mother Nature amazes me. I have such a passion for gardening. I am always amazed at the beauty God offers us. like you, I am merely the caretaker. I am in awe of what beauty can come from such a small seed. Visiting from the garden party. Now a new follower.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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