Clearly there have been some changes to the garden. This is what it looked like yesterday. So many things were pulled out from the original garden. They'd woven their branches into places where they were no longer of service and so it was time for them to go. And as I worked, others made changes as well, like the new neighbors who cut down all the trees to the left, which required more adaptation. It's still a work in progress. I will probably still be moving things around. Some plants will die. Some will thrive. All in all it will need a lot of tending, those small acts of attention and nurturing that often seem not worth doing because they don't have such quick paybacks as ripping out a bush or planting something new. Tending has never been my strong suit, which of course is why I need the garden to help teach me that now, to remind me that the little acts--those moments of contact, small instances of care repeated over weeks and months and year--are in fact the essence of life's continuation. They are necessary for a garden, and for a person, to thrive.
It's unclear what the future holds. Of course, it was always unclear even if we didn't know it. Whatever it brings, I'm wishing you and your family as much care and tending as you need to thrive. Stay safe out there and be kind to one another and yourselves.
I can't seem to snap a good photo of this plant and it doesn't produce berries until the fall, but when that happens the berries are light pink and so cute.
So, my redwood bonsai potting up didn't turn out as I anticipated. Somehow there's not enough soil to do what's supposed to be done. It'll be fine, but it's not particularly picture-worthy. Instead here's a mystery plant. I don't know what it is and it may very well be a weed, but it's cute.
These longer Sunday posts as a part of the #FearGardenProject are proving harder to put together than I first envisioned given timing and resources. So, I think while this project was a nice idea, it’s not sustainable in its current form. For today’s post I’m just going to drop in some various COVID resources that I’ve come across/have been sent to me, in case they’re helpful for someone reading. I’ll continue doing the daily garden pictures and on Sunday next week I’ll post a picture of what the garden looks like now. I think that will likely close out the project, although here in New York we are PAUSED until at least May 15th, so maybe I’ll keep the daily flower/plant posts going until then or until PAUSE is actually over.
Today’s picture is actually from inside the house. It’s of redwood bonsai sprouts. The bonsai is a Christmas present from my parents, and I think it’s finally ready to move to its next stage of long term potting up. I’m going to tackle that today and I’ll post a picture of the results tomorrow. Stay safe out there and, as I keep reminding myself, be kind to one another and yourself!
This podcast episode of Struggle Well by Josh Goldberg and Ken Falke, who help run Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth, which works with combat veterans and their families, and first responders, has a good summary of stress management information and tips:
Free self-compassion meditations and exercises from Dr. Kristin Neff, who specializes in empirically supported work on the value of mindful self-compassion: https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/
Free app for dealing with COVID related stress (for Apple systems only): https://apps.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1504705038?mt=8
Another broader app targeting happiness, for Apple and Android systems, using acceptance and commitment therapy tools, which is currently available for free through June using the code “TOGETHER” on the subscription page: http://www.actcompanion.com
A gathering of some tips for trauma-informed care to help children through COVID: https://healthcaretoolbox.org/tools-and-resources/14-health-care-toolbox/tools-and-resources/602-covid19-children-and-families.html
The Dougy Center (The National Center for Grieving Children & Families) has a good tip sheet on supporting children through the death of a family member in a hospital or care facility:
Headspace is offering a number of free meditations:
Finally, this resource isn’t free—it costs $5—and its functionality can be a bit spotty, especially on newer phones with multiple camera lenses, but this is a biofeedback app for Apple systems that I have used and found helpful. It uses the cell phone’s camera to record pulse and then you follow an inhale/exhale guide and the app tracks cardiac coherence, or HRV (heart rate variability), which is tied to nervous system balance. As the system aligns, more flowers grow. It’s sort of a way to observe the parasympathetic nervous system kick into action. It was developed by French researchers and if you do purchase the app it explains the process more within the app in better English than the summary in the app store does. There are three other versions (a safari where animals come to drink water, a beach scene and a rowing scene). If anyone knows of a better app for this type of thing, please let me know. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cardiac-coherence-the-garden/id960273136
This picture isn't from my yard. It's a picture of a street tree around the corner from my house. A mile away from this tree is North Central Bronx Hospital, a public hospital that's been inundated with COVID-19 cases. It's the hospital where the ambulances whose sirens I hear are headed and where staff members have been working nonstop for weeks. Every night at 7pm I step outside and bang a metal bowl along with others in my neighborhood, making noise to show our gratitude to the medical workers and staff. But you know what people like even more than gratitude? Food and money to cover their expenses, which is why I was so glad to learn today that there's a GoFundMe to help the heroic staff. I donated this morning and if you have a little to throw their way, you can do so here.