Homecoming. Home coming. Coming home. Come home.

It’s that time of year when there is a lot of stuff going on out there in the world. But do you know what my favorite thing to do is?

My favorite thing to do is to stay home. As a sensitive soul, I am not enamored with crowds.

I can endure them when the goal is cultured, like watching musical theatre or listening to a classical music concert. But the cacophony of football games does not make me feel at home in myself…at all.

Instead, I like to turn my attention inside myself and inside our home at the turning time of the year.

Of course, there are still garden beds to weed and prep for spring and summer planting, but mostly I am looking around my home with new eyes. The kind of eyes that have been mostly outside for six months.

It has been a successful growing season but that satisfaction is only experienced if it is recognized and felt.

The house is a bit cluttered, if I am honest.

What do I need?

What do I no longer want?

How can I energize my rooms so that staying inside all winter will be more relaxing and enjoyable?

There is so, so, so much pressure on us to focus on the outside world.

Big games.

Big wins.

Big losses.

Big scandals.

Big tragedies.

But too much focus outside is how the inside realms become neglected.

By being outside all spring and summer, I have nourished my body, mind and soul.

By turning back inside, I am relighting a fire in my heart like a tiny hearth that warms me to the furthermost reaches of my being.

I need that heat. I need that fire. I need that reclaiming of my inner reaches.

I can’t get a cozy, warm, content feeling outside. I get other things from being outside.

At this time of year mostly I get the anticipation of going back inside where it is warm and welcoming.

And, don’t get me wrong, I love spring and summer. I loved them throughout the growing season.

But at the onset of fall, with the sharp winds and downpours of needed rain, I am ready to toss aside my dirty garden gloves and venture indoors where many fall and winter seasonal adventures await.

After all, life is not built on achievements. Life is built on accumulated moments of awe and wonder, which arise from being content in the flow of life.

Out and in. In and out. The flow of life. The wonder of the changing seasons.

Where will it all take you this fall?

I hope to an adventure of your own making.

Perhaps even into a homecoming.

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Today I was working on a part of my garden that I have never truly liked.

And I thought, how can I get this part of the garden to work the way I know it can work?

The answer was: Garden the way nature thinks.

This idea seemed like a breakthrough because we live in a world where it’s so easy to only care about results and what others think.

Truthfully I don’t really care about either of those things. Gardening is one giant experiment for me. None of my gardens are picture-perfect, most of the time.

I simply want to achieve the results that I know are possible because I have experienced them in other areas of the yard. I want to love how my garden looks first and share the beauty with others second. So if I am not satisfied then I need to keep experimenting.

I have had success growing flowers all over the place, often despite myself. It sure helps when you purchase seeds that rarely fail like those I get from Botanical Interests. I have learned more from seeds that succeed than from seeds that fail.

A garden has multiple acts. There is a big ta-da in spring because you wait for it all winter. There is the summer climax of the garden, when the plants are so tall, bright and cheerful. Then there is the winding down in fall, which leads to that barren winter void.

I love all the seasons in the garden. And I love them even more when I don’t have to work too hard to grow beautiful flowers. I love it when my beds have their own momentum that carries them almost effortlessly through season after season.

So the first thing I did was rip the weeds out of the area. Sometimes I out pull plants that are not considered weeds, if I am not fond of them. In this case, a lot of mint was growing in this area and I ripped it all out. It smelled great but mint is too invasive around here (zone 8b).

Then I went shopping for free seeds. Which is another way of saying, I walked around the yard with my snips collecting seeds that were already dry on plants letting them fall into a mixing bowl. Late summer and early fall are good times to gather seeds. And who doesn’t like free?

I gathered Balsam, Hyssop, Sweet William, Hollyhock, Feverfew, Calendula, Shasta Daisy and Foxglove and scattered the seeds and husks across the area. In a bit I will go out and water everything in. And then I will forget about them and see what happens in the spring. I have a bit of drip irrigation installed there already, so I don’t have to worry about watering.

If I had some planting compost handy, I would mix the seeds into the compost or sprinkle some compost on top to protect them a bit more from critters. But it really doesn’t matter much since the seeds are all 100% free.

I love gardening this way. I just remembered that I have some seeds collected from last season that I can add to the bed. Why not use up all the free seed I already have?

Sometimes I like specific flowers in one part of the yard but not others. This is one of those beds where I have never achieved enough height and drama. So I am scattering seeds for a lot of tall flowers. For this reason, I will add some Rudbeckia Tribola seeds to the mix.

I don’t worry about planting in drifts, I just scatter mixed seeds all over the planting area and water them in. Nature will take care of the rest. Flowers will grow wherever they are happy if their needs are met.

Gardening should always be this easy and spontaneous. I can’t wait to see what pops up next growing season!

 

Today, I received an email from Dan Rather’s media company, which is called Steady.

I like that name because we sure can all use more steadiness in our lives during these tumultuous times.

Every Wednesday, he holds a discussion. Today the question was: Amidst so much pain, where do you find hope?

Here’s how I answered:

I go outside every day because nature was intended to be the center of my world and the world is such a happier place when nature is in her appropriate place. If I turn online to the steady parade of doom and gloom, then I become part of the doom and gloom — I reflect that back, I affirm it.

But when I go outside, I see another story–a story that is not affirmed by the powers that be. I immediately experience grounding, support, love and joy. Like so many things, nature and our direct experience of it has been hijacked from us. But we can take our power back by simply turning off the machines, like this one I am typing on, and going…blissfully…outdoors.

Call it escapism, call it self-indulgence, call it what you will, nature still represents the world we were supposed to inherit. This other, shadow world of pain and destruction was not created by nature. And so, I turn to nature for succor. I turn to nature for hope. I turn to nature to sustain me and my joy.

My joy is powerful. It is defiant. Joy is my rebellion. Thanks for the chance to share.

You can learn more about Dan Rather’s Steady here.

One thing I have discovered over the past few years, as a newbie flower gardener, is how incredibly easy it is to grow flowers.

We live in a culture that promotes the idea that growing flowers is hard. This idea is incorrect. Growing flowers is easy, not hard.

What’s hard–and also sad–is how disconnected many of us are from earth. The idea that flower growing is hard keeps us disconnected from the very ground we are standing on.

I often hear folks say, “I don’t have a green thumb.”

The thing is, you don’t need a green thumb; you have green feet. Anyone who is living on the earth has green feet by virtue of being here.

How connected or disconnected you feel does not really matter. Begin where you are. If you already feel connected to the earth, great. If you do not, start by taking little walks outdoors and looking around. There is beauty all around us.

Imagine your yard full of flowers throughout the growing season. If you don’t have a yard, imagine a window box full of flowers or even a vertical wall garden overflowing with flowers. You do not need a lot of space to grow flowers.

Appreciate whatever flowers you already have. If you don’t have any, appreciate flowers other people have. Visit flower gardens and garden stores. Chances are flowers are not far from where you live.

You can express yourself joyfully and colorfully with flowers. Start today. Decide that you deserve more flowers in your life because you do. We all do.

Having a yard full of flowers has changed my life. Flowers have soothed me during chaotic times. They have healed me in ways I did not know I needed support. By connecting with flowers, I feel more in tune with earth. I feel grounded in a way that had previously escaped me.

Do not let anyone make you feel that connecting with nature is secondary or less important than connecting with human beings. Without nature, there are no human beings. When we do not honor nature, we destroy our home. We are learning this lesson right now.

Some people are more introverted than others. This has been well-documented but the idea is perhaps still too often ignored. If you are introverted, consider spending more time in nature. Nature is here for you in a way people may not know how to be. You don’t have to go climb a mountain. Just open the door and go outside.

You can become a change agent on earth by starting to pay more attention to nature. Flowers are for everyone. But they are especially for those who yearn to feel the earth under their feet. If you need help coming down to earth for whatever reason, grow flowers. Nurturing flowers is easy and feels great from start to finish.

Growing flowers does not have to be a business venture. Growing flowers can be something you do for yourself first. Go ahead and grow flowers as a hobby. If you decide to share flowers later, that’s perfectly fine, but it is not required.

Growing flowers is an adventure. Planting seeds or bulbs is the beginning of a new chapter. We deserve to feel great and we deserve flowers–lots and lots of flowers.

Flowers can help you slow down, be in the moment and feel amazing. Stick around if you’d like to learn more about how easy it is to bring an abundance of flowers into your life.

Until next time…I hope you will stop and notice the flowers.

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