During March, April, and May, the weather is usually cloudless and mild, but the wind is quite gusty. Spring begins to warm the city a bit and is noticeably free of spring showers, which cover other parts of the country. This is a good time to visit nurseries and start planting bulbs and germinating seeds. This season brings rejuvenation. The sunlight shines brighter as the days grow longer and I bask in the birth of springtime.

March 2, 2008
The aphids are finally staying at bay with the insecticide I’m using. I hope I will be able to save the Daisies. They really are so graceful and wispy. I had to succumb to one of the dying Roses. It was no use; I could not save it. The good news is that the other Rose bush is doing well. It looks healthy enough to form buds and possibly bloom this summer.

March 6, 2008
I water every other day and wait for the spring blossoms to begin. I planted the Dahlia tubers. They began to sprout in the plastic bag that they were in when I bought them. The shade patio is starting to receive morning sunlight, and I moved the Bamboo to the brightest corner of the patio.

The earth has turned on her axis and spring’s rays of light are beginning their rotation around our building and garden. Soon enough it will be summer and my depressive mood will begin to fade.

March 15, 2008
My mind begins to burst with invigorating thoughts now that spring is here. All blossoms and buds are beginning to show themselves to the open sunshine. My one Rose bush is doing very well in the heat. I hope the summer will bring higher temperatures soon. The caps of the surf on the bay across the street remind me that a chilly wind is blowing about the city, through our windows, and into my face. The winds are prevalent, but I must flow with the rhythm and cycles of the ever-changing temperatures and moods of San Francisco.

The Dahlia tubers are doing well and enjoying the sun. They’re starting to pop out of the moss lying on the soil. They will require a lot of heat. I’ll see the results soon and will know whether I will receive blooms or a stalk of leaves.

I hear the birds in the morning. They sing until the dew is taken by the morning sunlight. I listen to calls that are always heard during the migratory season. They fly through, making stops on their way north to places that still have snow and ice. When I awake in the morning, I immediately gravitate toward the closed blind with light peeking in. Once the blinds are opened, the Bamboo and China Doll are visibly pressed against the window. I watch in silence as my body wakes to a sun-filled day. No clouds can be seen, and only a slight chill can be felt from the evening moon. On these mornings I feel alive and breathe in every moment – I feel part of the earth and welcome the flow of life.

March 18, 2008
My obsessive thoughts have slowed down with the help of medication; my doctor increased my seroquel and my mind is quiet today. The quiet days allow me to go into those corners of my mind that I had abandoned long ago. Traveling into the tiny crevices makes life more fruitful. I feel a sense of peace today as I look at the new growth in the garden.

March 19, 2008
The Salvia is blooming and hummingbirds come to feed from the nectar. I’m very optimistic with the Dahlias. They are all sprouting from the rich soil. The Hibiscus flowers really filled out this winter and are ready to show their lavender saucers. I hope they bloom continuously this summer. Last year, they bloomed once and did not produce new buds, but they had time to acclimate during the winter. This is the second season for all of the plants, and they are hardy and strong. New shoots of Bamboo are coming up. The Ferns inside the house are doing well and coming in healthy, and they have recuperated from setbacks earlier this year.

March 20, 2008
I miss my garden in Smyrna. The half-acre kept me busy and dissolved any depression that ever loomed. I yearn for days spent in the yard until the sun gave way. I would enter the house drenched in my own sweat, my tired and sore muscles aching. I also miss the crickets at night, the scorching hot summers, listening to heavy storms pass through, and the two enormous Oaks that blanketed the ground each season with different colored matter. I long for all those plants and days and seasons. I used to enjoy changing the flowerbeds in front of the house from Impatients to Lantana and switching out the garden box in the back, which was used for tomatoes and herbs in the summer. I miss the Mint Apple, which I used for a cool, light tea. It was refreshing on hot days.

Here in San Francisco, I spend most of my time indoors due to the chilly temperatures and furious winds. I have a window of warmth on the southern exposed patio for a few hours during the day, and then the sun creeps behind the building to the west and disappears, and the plants fall back into the shade once again. The days are growing longer now that summer is on its way.

March 28, 2008
Some days I can see Gussy in the garden from my window as she tries to stay warm in the cold air. I can see her when she’s raking, pruning, or cutting the lawn in her faraway existence.

The Mandevilla is doing excellent. It will flourish tremendously since the rhizomes are in such good shape. The vine is acclimating well. Many leaves and new branches are burgeoning.

This summer promises to be warm, but I will not build my hopes up in the San Francisco climate. The Pacific winds cool the city down considerably. I am surprised the Dahlias are doing so well. They usually need a lot of heat. I anxiously await the swirled florets that construct each flower.

The Maidenhair Fern is doing well also. I have discovered its rhythm for watering. Since this miraculous bond, I feel successful saving such a delicate and finicky plant. The same is true for the Mother Fern. They are both receiving indirect sunlight and keeping them inside helps protect them from the burning winds that traverse the city. When I had them on the patio, the cool night winds would turn the delicate leaves brown.

March 30, 2007
I feel as though I’ve become an extension of my garden: nourishing and watering flowers and plants, as they need. My energy flows and bathes each blossom with care. I thrive in the new growth, refreshing myself like never before.

April 5, 2008
The Hibiscus has started its first blooms of the season. There are at least fifteen to twenty buds where as previously only a handful of blossoms existed. They are periwinkle with a hint of incandescent blue in the early evenings.

Uncle Marty is doing poorly every day. He is up in bed receiving morphine. It may be only a matter of weeks or days until he passes. I think about the loss often. I’ll think of him when I garden and when new flowers open and eventually fade away in the dusk.

Painfully so, David moves out on April 15th. I go in and out of my depression. The coming months will be very difficult. Spring has given heat to plants, especially the new arrivals, but I sit and sink with the turbulence that surrounds me. The flowers bring fleeting pleasure, but when I walk into the apartment life seems bare.

April 11, 2008
Uncle Marty passed away at nine p.m. Needless to say it was a bad day for all family and friends. He is at peace and Aunt Erin is happy that he is no longer in pain, but the mourning process will be grueling.

The other emotionally and exhausting hardship is David’s decision to move out on Tuesday. We packed boxes and brought them to his new loft yesterday. Aside from all the bad news yesterday was a beautiful summer day. It must have been close to eighty degrees. Plants are thriving, birds are singing, and flowers are opening.

April 14, 2008
An American goldfinch has settled right outside my door. Birds sing all morning and at sundown. Some spend the afternoon perched in the shaded courtyard where it is cool. The sound of spring is exhilarating. A rebirth is taking place within the earth and within me.

The Dahlias have taken to the dose of afternoon sun. Blossoms will form once summer rests upon San Francisco. Recently, I have been told that it is very difficult to grow Roses in containers. The soil has to have the right combination of compounds and matter to produce and sustain a healthy root system.

The Bougainvillea has been over-watered and shows no signs of new growth, but it still carries blossoms from early spring. The Hibiscus is growing wildly. The Ranunculus, which Gussy brought me, has beautiful blooms. I’m making sure to soak them well because they thrive in wet conditions. The yellow Daisies are doing well except for the crystallized flakes that still remain.

The Mandevilla rhizomes are working hard to create brand new leaves that were nowhere to be found last summer on the shade patio. I have been neglecting the Air Plants and they are very dried out. I will have to pay more attention, but I don’t find them stimulating.

April 16, 2008
It is a chilly day. I played around in the garden a bit. The plants needed to be soaked. The Hydrangeas are in a porcelain container, and the water remains stagnant. Not even the sun will dry the soil. On cooler days, I’ll have to be stringent with the amount of watering. The tips of the Hydrangea leaves are black and dried up. Also, one of the immature blooms has folded up and died. I had to cut the stem low today and be rid of the dying bloom.

April 17, 2007
I’m in my lonely solitude and I can’t seem to pull myself out. My sense of reality is so frail; I feel as though I will be pushed over the edge with the slightest yank. I don’t think I will ever be able to defy the course nature has chosen for me. My garden sits and awaits me, to fill me with joy once again. I struggle with every last bit of energy to water all the plants, but once I get into the rhythm of watering and pruning my lethargy wanes.

April 18, 2008
Gussy always brings gifts when I’m feeling down. Yesterday she lopped branches from a Cherry Blossom in bloom and carried them up to the apartment. My depression immediately came to a resting point.

I’ve placed the large Cherry Blossom branches in a container of water and have woven a few branches into the railing, to keep them from falling over. I hope they last for a while. They are pink soft clusters, standing tall.

The Roses are having a tough time. Mold is accumulating on most of the leaves. I may give the plants to Gussy for her garden at home. They really would do much better in the ground since their root system needs room to stretch and crawl far from the root ball.

April 19, 2008
I’ve cut back some Dahlia shoots to allow the thicker and more established stalk to absorb all the energy from the sun, fertilizer, and water. One stalk is at least five-eighths of an inch in diameter. I think it will do very well. I may not need any stakes this year if they continue to expand.

Gussy has given me several names of residents in the apartment complex who have expressed interest in a container garden. Paul plans to design a website with photos of the work I’ve accomplished on both patios. I will also include a journal section where viewers can leave comments.

April 20, 2008
David and I are in route to Bozeman, Montana for Uncle Marty’s memorial service.

April 21, 2008
A memorial service for Uncle Marty took place down at the river house. The emotions of many attending family and friends were viscid in the air. He must have been happy to see family and close friends congregate in the special place he and Aunt Erin called home. It is a peaceful place where they spent much time reading, enjoying quality time with friends and family, and where Uncle Marty leisurely pursued fly-fishing.

The service was quintessential and quite moving in comparison to any funeral I had ever attended. The eulogy was given by Aunt Erin’s cousin. All was silent as he delivered warm words. Afterwards Uncle Marty’s ashes were brought down to the river by Aunt Erin and my cousins, Juliana and Greg.

The congregation watched as they walked the wooden steps down to the river’s edge. The most appropriate hymn played in the background, “Down to the River to Pray.” The sweet voice from the hymn resonated throughout the mountains. The hymn simultaneously brought the congregation together.

The ashes were brought to the river’s edge and released into the slow moving water that turned to a white cloud. The white water meandered around the protruding rocks of the river, which stuck out from the dry winter of that season. It was just this past winter Uncle Marty lay sick in his home. Not only was the river drying up but every drop of life within my Uncle started to dry up into his final passage of life. Eventually, he found his way down the bubbling river and over smooth river rocks. The water’s strength took hold, coddling him as he entered a new life. He wanted to be one with the earth and we granted him his wish.

I will miss our conversations over the phone and in person. He always described the mountains of Bozeman, which were framed by the bay windows of his office. There was always a calm and peaceful demeanor in his voice. His detailed descriptions of wildlife I could unceasingly envision. The mountaintops with white caps drew him in. He would soon settle in a place where he would wind into the crevice of the mountains and hills of Bozeman.

April 24, 2008
In flight back to San Francisco

April 27, 2008
Gussy has been working hard to find neighbors who want balconies designed; I have many potential jobs.

I have four Dahlia buds, which I’m very excited about. Gussy came to visit the Dahlias and watch them unfold as I have. We find them exhilarating to watch as they form into large blossoms. But, aphids are beginning to take over the very small buds. I used insecticide and drenched them. I do hope this will help. I’m so pleased my Maidenhair Fern has made a complete turnaround. More watering and fertilizing help keep the fine leaves healthy. The Mother Fern is doing just as well.

8 p.m.
The birds chatter outside my window as the day comes to a close in this region of the world. The singing slows down a bit as the sun melts into the Pacific. It’ll be dark soon, and everything shall diminish to a low hush. Even my mind slows to the invitation of the evening air.

April 30, 2008
Gussy and I went across the street to a home accessory shop that has a messy outdoor garden. It will need much cleaning, require pruning, fertilizing, mulching, new soil, a new layout, and a compost bin. It is a long list and I’m not sure where to start. There’s plenty of work to keep me busy for well over three or four weeks.

Gussy may be the businesswoman behind the jobs and I would take on most of the labor, which I don’t mind. This would give me a chance to get back into the garden once again. We have a few other possible jobs for balconies and it looks like our idea may well turn into a fruitful business.

May 2, 2008
The Pacific winds still keep me chilled to the bone. Gussy brought by the remaining Ranunculus lined under the honeysuckle. Only a few remain, and she’ll be replacing them next week with geraniums. The Ranunculus reminds me a bit of Peonies.

May 5, 2008
I visited Filoli gardens with Fred over the weekend. What elegantly manicured and luscious grounds! The gardens and Georgian Mansion are at the base of the Santa Cruz hills. It is a peaceful and soft backdrop to the well-maintained garden. Fountains trickled quietly and perennials circled the calm ponds. There were vegetable gardens that the cooking staff once harvested when the mansion was inhabited. The Rose garden had rows of different varieties, which were just burgeoning fold by fold.

The lap pool was surrounded by grass lawns, which swept up to the perimeter of the pool’s stone edge. There were many mesmerizing views of Italian Cypresses lining paths to far off sculptures and one area that had Greek columns formed into a crescent layout. Steps of stone led to a hidden bench and a large expanse of grass carpeted between each step. Wispy periwinkle flowers were laid within a rectangular garden of manicured Boxwoods. The tiny flickering hues of flowers were prominent in the large garden. There lay a vast sea of a lavender hue.

The mansion itself was grandiose with endless ceilings that reached the sky. The ballroom was especially impressive with the monumental murals covering all walls. The kitchen was just as large as the drawing room. The Bourn family lived here from 1917 to 1936. They both designed the mansion and gardens to their liking. The trip to Santa Cruz Mountains was special.

Gussy brought by the remaining Ranunculus lined under the Honeysuckle. Only a few are left and she’ll be replacing them next week. They remind me a bit of Peonies.

May 7, 2008
My garden is very green right now. There are no blossoms to speak of, though the Dahlia is evolving into beautiful flowers. My mood lifts as I marvel over the Dahlias. Yesterday was nice, and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a warm summer.

All the Ferns are doing well. I’m pleasantly surprised that the Maidenhair Fern is coming in with healthy fronds. Gussy calls them “prima donnas.” They are a handful. You must stay on top of the watering or they will dry up instantly and turn brown behind your back. They like a good soaking every few days.

I thought of Smyrna yesterday when the birds were singing well into the early evening. The screen doors let in the beautiful sound. There was a blue shade of early evening light that fell upon the apartment. In Smyrna, I remember reading in bed and hearing the birds sing well into the mid-evening. This of course, was summer, when the days grew longer and warmer and more peaceful.

May 8, 2008
Gussy and I gathered a bouquet of flowers from the garden. We arranged them for Paul, who is a close friend, since he has been melancholy. So, Gussy rustled through Boxwood hedges as she clipped Lily of the Nile, Rhododendrons, a premature green-flowering Dogwood, Roses, and foliage from the Nandenus. I was pleasantly surprised at the premature chartreuse of the Dogwoods. Eventually, when they begin to mature, they will turn white or pink.

May 9, 2008
The freight train, which has been running through my life, is slowly coming to a stop. There seems to be a quietness I’ve never heard before.

May 11, 2008
I have seven Dahlia buds. I’m so happy they are doing well. The Ferns are nice and thick since I sprinkled fertilizer pellets on the soil. What a difference in health! The plants on the patio are doing just as well with the fertilizer.

Now that summer is approaching, I have a tendency to make my way outside in the early evenings to clip Roses from the apartment’s courtyard. I always have a white bouquet of Tea Roses that bloom abundantly in the containers outside. I have them in a luster vase, and they drape over its mouth.

The Bougainvillea’s small white flowers have finally bloomed and the hummingbirds found their way to the nectar once again. There doesn’t seem to be any new growth, and most of the papery thin flowers have lost their petals from the heavy winds that came and went a few weeks ago. I’m a bit saddened, but the next round of blossoms will be on their way soon.

My Air Plants have been neglected. Therefore, they are turning brown and are dried up. Hopefully I can turn them around as I did with the Ferns. The close attention and care for the ferns has made a difference. I can hardly wait for them to grow larger and greener. I have coddled them for the past year and it shows.

May 17, 2008
The Lily of the Nile sits in a vase on the porch and has a glow from the evening moon. The tiny buds look like water drops, similar to falling tears. The house is dark and the blue light falls over the white carpet and cream-colored pillows. It is a quiet night and warm too.

May 18, 2008
It was a record high of ninety-eight degrees today. The Dahlias enjoyed the heat. I made sure to soak every plant for the week of exhausting temperatures. The Dahlia moves quietly to the south absorbing all the heat. Pinkish petals bourgeon gradually. There are eight buds and all are healthy.

May 21, 2008
Sometimes plants have diseases and become sick; they don’t receive the nutrients to lead a healthy existence. Others thrive for no real apparent reason and others take years to catch up to the veterans of the garden. Some need nursing at times, this love and attention restores the health of many plants. I feel much the same way how nature’s cycle twists and turns through time. Sometimes I feel well and other days I don’t; they are the peaks and valleys that I must contend with.

May 26, 2008
Today I leave behind a chaotic world and sometimes I can’t help to wonder if the darkness of life has given me insight. Being depressed has forced me to probe the dark places in my mind. I have found a wholeness through my garden; the Hibiscus saucers, the florets of a Dahlia, the patio Rose and more.

May 27, 2008
I wanted to prepare for forcing bulbs this coming winter. It is simple to force bulbs for the winter months. Place bulbs in a brown paper bag, and then leave the bag in the refrigerator for at least six weeks. The bulbs are launched into a dormant stage. They are then removed from the refrigerator and placed in a pot with rich soil. After potting they should be placed in the brightest window, where you can watch them begin to form and grow.