The First Seed

My venture into container gardening began after two years without the touch of nature in my daily routine. In our apartment there was no soil, no flowers growing, and no plants that needed tending. I began visiting local flower shops and farmer’s markets in search of cut flowers.

Soon, I had flowers placed all around the apartment, and I began to learn the traits of flowers like Queen Anne’s lace, which has delicate powdery florets dripping like snowflakes that cover the table in white. Roses in an array of colors such as lavender, chartreuse, and salmon, were a challenge to keep fresh for more than four days. The Mammoth sunflowers found in large groves were eventually brought to the table, and daisies, which never made an interesting arrangement as the tulips. The tulips would fall over the lip of a vase and continue to bend over slowly as they aged. The spider daisies inspired interesting drawings, as did the spider mums. The stock has an immense fragrance, which filled the entire living area.

I continued to buy all sorts of flowers, until I found myself thinking about growing my own flowers and plants. I realized this was the beginning of a harmonious and leisurely pursuit that was a different form of gardening than what I’d known in Smyrna. Though the amount of room I was working with was significantly smaller than what I had been used to in Smyrna, I’ve been able to create two diverse and beautiful gardens. One is a shade garden, on the eastern exposed patio, which receives morning light. The other is on the southern patio, which receives afternoon high temperatures.

As I established my container gardens, I began to enjoy newfound life around me. Freshly inspired, I began to draft a bud to its ultimate conclusion. I sketched many stages of its life to show the slow or even quick changes of a leaf or flower. I found splendor within the many stages of existence, each proving to be as captivating as the next.

I’ve watched flowers bud and decay in several different types of conditions and confines. Nature’s clock has allotted each blossom to bloom for days, weeks, or even months. Then, there is the cycle of life spawned by the warmth of spring and the eventual hibernation or even death that gives way to winter. At times, I turn my thoughts to how delicate life can be with its everlasting cycle, the turning over of each season.

Among some of the plants I have in my container gardens are the sago palm, bougainvillea, daisies, lavender, maidenhair fern, bird’s nesting fern, mother fern, Boston fern, bamboo, roses, lantana, dahlias, and Ranunculus. Many of these plants I know from the south, but the climate in San Francisco is considerably different. Gardening in the south was a bit difficult with the extreme heat and humidity while San Francisco’s climate has proven to be more cooperative. The fog that lies upon San Francisco’s peninsula provides a cool, hydrating environment that helps perennials and annuals thrive.

At this time I began a friendship with a woman named Gussy. She is the horticulturist for the apartment complex I live in. The friendship spawned an endearing and profound connection to one another. She began to make visits to my apartment in the mornings and would bring me flowers from the garden on the grounds. Our friendship has grown into a relationship created by the gift of nature. Gussy gave me that gift and continues to share her knowledge and love for plants.