Several years ago, twenty five people gathered to weave wreaths from greens and native plants harvested primarily from Mercy by the Sea’s property. As one of the participants, I thought I had carefully followed Sister Genie's instructions.
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I am committed to growing native plants. It is economically feasible and environmentally sound. Cranesbill or wild geranium is a perennial that I’ve added to the garden in recent years.
I always loved “Columbus Day” Weekend. Most importantly, it was a day off from school. Most predictably, it was usually a glorious fall day. It was warm enough to still play outside without a jacket. Flaunting her freedom, nature, my co-conspirator, was dressed in a bold array of fall colors. Equally pleasing were all the additional flavors and sights of the season; cider, donuts, mums, and pumpkins. These days, I only enjoy the pumpkins. Cider and donuts are too many calories and mums I’ve come to learn are not particularly authentic. Similar to changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, I’ve likewise given up chrysanthemums that are from East Asia in exchange for New England Asters. Choosing to only plant natives, I now have a favorite new fall color...deep purple.
I have been thinking a lot about death. How could I not with Covid-19 fatalities reported every day. On a personal level, I have lost my father-in-law as well as a friend over the past 6 months. Quietly and privately, we returned their bodily remains to the earth. Despite the complexity of grief during a pandemic, I still feel hopeful as a gardener. During a time of year when the grass is less vibrant and the colors are muted, I continue to see new life. The ritual of planting spring bulbs reminds me that plants have a remarkable ability to grow towards the light. My newly repotted plants that have been brought indoors for the colder months now stretch towards the window to get sunshine. If I mistakenly place one of my tulip bulbs upside down, it will still grow. This orientation towards the light is called phototropism. Bulbs can even move through the soil. Several bulbs, like crocus and tulips, have contractile roots which pull a bulb slowly to the most favorable depth in the soil.