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The yoga of garden

Updated: Apr 16

Though the fruit tree blossoms are gone for another year, there is a sudden burst of growing and blooming happening in the garden.

Bearded Iris (Iris Germanica I now know, thanks to the Last Emperor) at the front path have revealed themselves to be purple (maybe violet).


Sometime in 2020, I found these plants, a little sad, desperate for rescue in cut down plastic milk jugs, in a save-the-cats-and-dogs thrift store in Silver City. They didn’t flower last spring though they did indulge in some healthy leaf growth. I was beginning to think they didn’t like the site. I was vaguely contemplating moving them. Glad I waited. Some plants just need time, it seems.

Talking about needing time, it also took them a while to settle, but now the first rays of sun each morning spotlight a blooming marvel of Dutch Iris (Iris Hollandica) in the back northwest of the property.


These bulbs were planted early spring 2021. That season they offered up only a single bloom leaving me thinking I was no good at the fancy flowers thing. I am pleased they have decided to thrive.

Incidentally though it was a different season and the image is from a different angle, this (below) is what the back yard looked like in October 2018, on the day we first met. That wasteland of goats head thorns and dust has reincarnated in rows of thriving garlic, swelling figs, shallots and beautiful flowers.

The big wind horses (prayer flags) flying from the budding cottonwood, in the contemporary image above, were set to gallop at Holi/spring equinox just past. They have a story, the short part of which is that they came back from Nepal with a dear dear friend of mine when she went trekking there quite a few decades ago.

Stepping out each morning, with my first cup of tea and yoga mat, I see the flowers and the prayer flags fluttering friendship. It feels like a good way to greet the day. Sunlight spreads golden light across the yoga space, sweeping away the shadows. Inhale. Stretch up. Exhale. Twist. May all beings flourish. May all beings know peace.

And while we are on the topic of prayers and mornings and spring, my phone‘s insistent, chiming alerts just after 4am tore into my morning belly button fluff contemplations today.

I thought at least it must be a Red Cross disaster response call. I am a (somewhat lapsed) Red Cross volunteer but as far as I know I haven’t been put on standby for humanitarian aid support in Ukraine. Maybe something changed overnight…or a house burned down…or someone who shares my blood had gotten hurt. Inhale. Exhale.


But no.


When I finally looked at the pesky, demanding, drama queen of an instrument, it was to discover the urgency was fire season in the western USA. It has started really early this year. We are always windy in spring. The landscape is really really dry right now. The winds are really really strong too.

Unperturbed by wind, hunkered down close to the ground, and hydrated by the garden hose, I find strawberry flowers. Last year, after planting these while listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s essay on wild strawberries in Braiding Sweetgrass, I ate every strawberry straight from the plant. Will there be more this year?

In other areas, the earth is birthing strange, alien beings. Mumblings of Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Last year I made rhubarb chutney from the offerings from these plants. Delicious it was, too.

A slow eruption of Amaryllis promises flowers. The process has such lovely shape and form, drawing my eye as I move through the warriors and balance asanas. Distraction or focus? Gardening for yoga. Yoga for gardening.

Collards and kale are flourishing, surrounded by a million self-sown cosmos seedlings. The garden takes it’s own path sometimes. And I allow it, just to see who wants to be where, when.

I see cosmos blooming along the highway in Die Ou Vrystaat, on a road trip more than fifty years ago. Inhale. Exhale. Let it go. Let it go. Let it grow. Time is always present. Presence is memory and forgetting. Memory is metaphor, not the thing itself. Presence is.

Grape vines are busting out of bud into leaf.


Shhh. The garden thinks it’s spring. Again.

“Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science. But man needs both.”

Fritjof Capra in Tao of Physics (1975)





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