When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Gardening

Yoga in the garden

Yoga in the garden

When naming this blog, the concept was simple. I love gardening and achieve a sense of absorption and harmony when my hands are in the dirt.  The philosophy of nirvana is beautiful: the consciousness releases, and the mind becomes aware in a way that is totally unconstrained by anything in the conditioned world. The act of gardening is the closest I’ve come to that experience.

After a rough week, I could think of no better way to sooth my soul than a bit of exercise, followed by hard work in my garden.  I spent the morning pruning the topiary dinosaur, dead-heading several azaleas, raking dried leaves and topping off the compost bin.  I filled an old planter with the rocks I unearthed from the planting bed, then pulled weeds around the Chinese Pistache.  After hand-watering the smaller pots, checking the tomato seeds and smiling at the volunteer potato, it was noon.  I still had an hour to spare, so I high-tailed it to the nursery for some plants.

No-Go on the Flowering Seeds

My seed planting extravaganza was a complete failure this year.  The packets suggested direct sowing of cosmos, poppies and sunflowers.  How simple!  Out back, my vegetable garden practically planted itself, but the flowers are another story.  I finally removed camp ‘squirrels-stay-out‘ when weeks later nothing came up.  Okay, nothing is a bit of an exaggeration, but when you plant dozens of seeds and only manage to germinate one, it sure feels like nothing.  Perhaps I can blame it on the blackened fingernail I smashed in the door.  No green thumb in sight.

Off to the Nursery

I said a quick hello to my friend Doug at Almaden Nursery, then loaded my cart with sunflower, Alyssum and Cosmo starters.  April came and went, so no time to dillydally with new seeds.  A few impulse purchases made it into the cart, including a gorgeous orange-flowered geranium and some Vinca to fill in some bare spots.

Back home, I planted, planted and planted some more.  I apologized profusely whenever I unearthed a worm, quick to return them to the cool, moist soil below.  They deserve their own sense of nirvana like every one else.

What do you do when the going gets tough?  How do you regain your center?

gardening [ˈgɑːdənɪŋ]
noun: the planning and cultivation of a garden

nir·va·na (nîr-vän, nr-)
noun: An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

Kitty Update

We’ve made a couple of visits to the Cat Hospital this week.  Our kitty is looking good, eating well, and ready to come home.


Beijing sports a Tony-the-Tiger bandage

18 thoughts on “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Gardening

  1. Coming home!!!! wonderful ((( Alys))) Are they having to hydrate via IV? Poor Beijing, what an ordeal, we’ll just be happy to sit and enjoy your sweet face resting in the garden 😀

    Your week makes me dizzy, no wonder you’re looking for some relief. We MUST let you relax and don’t want you worn right out after we leave. BTW, I never was able to stand like that in Yoga. My foot wouldn’t stay up there.

    We are so thankful for this visit and all you’re doing to get ready for us. ((( Alys ))) I hope it hasn’t been too much all at once. Sorry to hear about the dud seeds. That’s not fair after all the extra care you took with the tents. Well, it’s always nice to have instant garden from a nursery but I’m sure you had about a dozen other things going on too. We’re thinking of all of you and Beijing too with love. See you soon xoK


    • Thanks, Boomdee! Hearing your voice today was wonderful. I blubbered like a baby when I heard your voice. I’m so glad you’re here.

      The floors are done! We’re moving back tomorrow, just can’t move the furniture just yet. Baby steps. hee!!!

      I know you’re having a beautiful time in Napa. I I hope Alyster is enjoying the sites as well. Hello Mr. B. [waving]



      • Awwww, you are adorable Alys. I want to spoil you rotten while I’m visiting. I’m so glad you can go back home even if you can’t move in furniture just yet. I hope you really can relax and enjoy all your hard work very soon. We had a full day and just in for the night to relax. I feel so blessed to be here and seeing you soon. xox K

        Mr. B laughed, what? oh…”helloooo” (he doesn’t quite get the nuances of blog visits..giggle)


  2. So great to hear Beijing is eating well – always a good sign – and, yes, I’m totally with you on the gardening front! Nothing relaxes me more or restores my balance as well. You’ve also inspired me to get down to our local yoga class – I’ve heard it works wonders when you have bad weeks. Hope next week is better! Thanks for the kitty update. Take care.


    • Great idea! Let me know if you sign up. I’ve studied yoga, tai-chi and mindfulness meditation, and they all work wonders. It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget we have these ‘tools’ at our disposal.

      The crew completed the refinishing of our bamboo floors today, so we get to move back home tomorrow. Beijing will come home tomorrow as well. Boomdee is visiting from Edmonton, arriving Saturday, so it feels like equilibrium is returning. Even our bizarre heat wave (twenty degrees above normal for several days), is expected to break by the weekend. Hurray for the little things.

      Thanks for your always-thoughtful comments. They mean so much.


  3. Seeing the IV reminds me of having to give Buddy’s kitty, Sapphire a kitty IV when she had kidney problems. She did great, I was a mess and had the hardest time doing it right. Thank goodness for our very own animal whisperer (Destyn Sublett) who showed me how and did it when I couldn’t. I am so glad you found the perfect thing to do to help you through this rough time. I hope things are settling in and all is turning around. XO


    • I’ve got to meet Destyn in person one day. She is the coolest! It was very difficult for me to administer subcutaneous fluids when Collar-Collar was sick. Mike was able to do it, so together we worked it out. You were good to take care of Buddy’s sick kitty. Loyal and true to the end, Betsy.

      Thanks for commenting!


  4. I’m tickled your kitty is getting better. That has to be a relief. I have never been able to do that posture even before my balance was shot by the Bells. Lucky to hold the warrior pose these days. You look so relaxed at it. I write when things get too rough. No garden so no digging. That was always the best stress buster.


    • Writing is also a good stress-buster. I kept extensive journals for years when I was an apartment dweller. I kept houseplants, but it wasn’t quite the same. I’m glad you write and that you write a blog. So happy to have connected with you here.

      Holding any yoga pose is challenging; mind over body. You go with that warrior pose and add to it when the timing is right. My favorite yoga position is the child’s pose. The best back stretch ever.


  5. Holding that pose is a tricky one – at Yoga class we often cheat and stand close to the wall! My Icelandic Poppies from last year did not survive in my garden at home but surprisingly the little perennial ‘plug’ plants over wintered quite well in their pots wrapped up in some fleece.


  6. After I posted The Sigh a few weeks ago, I enjoyed hearing from folks via the blog, email and FB about what makes them sigh. Several said gardening!!! (yay for kitty!!)


  7. I’m so behind on my favourite posts – your gorgeous cat looks well and I’m sure you’ll make up for lost time together soon. I’m impressed at your yoga skills – I can barely walk in a straight line without falling over my own feet! Ha ha x x x


    • Hi PJ!

      Thanks for catching up. Aren’t you sweet to do that.

      Kitty is doing okay. She sleeps a lot and resists her meds, but we’ve finally sorted out a way to get them in without too much trauma. Poor thing. She has a check up tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

      Yoga actually helps with balance. You should think about giving it a go. I’ve been losing my natural balance lately, so I want to keep that in check. At post-50, you want to keep two feet on the ground whenever possible.


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