I still dream of the South and the garden I created there. I dream of the hidden Mimosa, the large Oaks, the Narcissus that sprouted in random parts of the yard – indicating spring would soon be here. The Rose of Sharon’s saucer-like cups of periwinkle swooped gracefully from long limbs, and the bits of yellow lantana shimmer in the heat of summer.

On a rare, balmy San Francisco evening, I imagine the warm summer nights of Smyrna. There is a faint reminder of the southern dusk when the moon lies low on the San Francisco Bay. It has taken some time to adapt to city life - I hear the vacant roar of trains running by my window in the bustling streets rather then the quiet and gentle sounds of crickets.

I continuously seek out new plants to place in my container garden. There are trials and tribulations in gardening – challenges I thoroughly enjoy. There is the Maidenhair Fern, which brought me to a deeper level of life in the garden. I worked hard trying to keep it flourishing, though it was a finicky plant. I swore it would be easy to maintain the heirloom Roses since they were vintage, but they proved to be a challenge that never prospered. The patio Rose bush was a wonderful replacement and provided dainty spots of pink leaning toward the rail.

My friendship with Gussy flourished into a deep and caring relationship during the four seasons and beyond. She still brings me flowers from the garden and shares her knowledge and gardening experiences with me. We meet in the mornings for coffee and talk about the garden she tends, as well as the discoveries I’ve made in my own container garden. It is unfortunate that our gardening business never came to fruition.

And, there is the blanket of depression that casts a shadow on several days, but my garden consistently rejuvenates me and helps my wellbeing. The low, dark cloud that kept me indoors disappears when I let the sun shine on my face and when I find wildflowers at the farmer’s market and the Dahlia buds that blossom into vibrant, complex swirls and more.

All of these moments have given me a tremendous amount of pleasure and healing. Now that I’m in an urban setting, I have grown to appreciate the wonderful aspects of a vibrant city. But, when my depression is menacing I start to pine for those hot summer nights in the South.