Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lavender and Larkspur

The lavender and larkspur in my garden were given to me by two friends. Once during a trying teaching assignment, a veteran teacher next door befriended me. At the time, she lived nearby on an acreage which she had landscaped by herself. As our friendship grew, we exchanged plants, seeds, and quilting projects. Even though she has moved out of state, my blue columbine and peach iris continue to grow in her western garden. Her yellow iris and larkspur bloom in my garden.

Every year, I let the larkspur go to seed and replant themselves. The seed pods are full of tiny black conical seeds which grow well in the clay soil of my perennial garden. The old friend who gave me the first seeds built a second home in a western mountain valley. Anticipating the day when she would need wheels to move around, she designed her mountain home with roll-in shower and wide doorways. In her late 70's, she now hires yard and garden help but hasn't lost her ability to speak her mind or take care of herself. In order to retrieve her mail, she drives a riding mower down a long lane to the mailbox. When the bright blue larkspur petals and sharp pointy seeds sift onto the garden floor, I admire the "can do" determination of a dear friend.

About five years ago I began attending a yoga class. The instructor is another master gardener so each week I look carefully at her yard to see new blooms. Several years ago, after experimenting with methods of plant propagation, she handed each of us a paper cup with a tiny new lavender plant. I planted the fragile shoot in my herb garden. This year, the gray/green mound is blooming profusely. When I breathe in the lavender scent, I find the fragrance much more pleasant than any commercially produced product. I also recall the teacher who encourages me to breathe deeply in order to cultivate a little extra stretch in my muscles and joints.

I love the way the lavender flower stalk has two single blossoms further down the stalk. It is almost as if the plant found a little extra space for beauty. Savoring the natural lavender scent, I vow to find some quiet space each day in which to breathe.

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