Gardens of Spirit

Description

Shamans say plants have spirit medicine. They have for me, helping me find solace, solidity, and silence when it felt like everybody else was screaming.
Perhaps during my teen years, before my father threatened to put me in Military School, I discovered a large Juniper that held me gently in presence. Grace, my maternal grandmother, had gardens in at least two towns, growing plentifully in Illinois soil. She’d only a fifth-grade education, but her hands read volumes of tilth and harvest. Her letters told enthusiastically of compost & compassion. When I moved to the Gulf Coast, I never went back physically, but my blood flows in a river of gardening love.

Orange clay, here in Virginia, is fertile; adding manure & mulch is worth the effort. Loudoun County, my ex-husband told me, was once orchard grass and dairy farms. McMansion traffic belies the Old Dominion’s “Dillion Rule,” giving speculators first grabs on fertile and vulnerable plots. We moved near Charles Town, and his driving the manure spreader from Grubstake to our large garden proved a somewhat death-defying act!

Our marriage crumbled when I spent months going door-to-door raising money for potable, reliable, water’s legal fund. (“Walnut Grove” homes, more than 150, were watered from a hand-dug, shallow well of plantation origins!)

My mixed borders, our northeast shelter belt of white spruce, and large gardens really sold our home - with Mr. Grubb’s oak floors.

Since then, my love of gardening has served public, private, soul-healing and grieving families. I hope I never stop.

-Story contributed by Virginia A. 

Photos Show

A swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

A swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

Dill & Queen Anne’s lace also support beautiful pollinators and beneficials! [View Additional File Details]

A sphinx moth alights on bee balm

A sphinx moth alights on bee balm

Virginia notes, "Native Bergamot is valuable for our vanishing bumblebees, who are pollinating many food crops, too!" [View Additional File Details]

A caterpillar visits the garden

A caterpillar visits the garden

Its orange hue pops against the green of the plants. [View Additional File Details]

A shy sunflower in Virginia's garden

A shy sunflower in Virginia's garden

Sunflowers provide food for bees and birds alike. [View Additional File Details]

The monarch butterflies unfolding in the tent are wild caterpillars

The monarch butterflies unfolding in the tent are wild caterpillars

They were rescued moments before the Department of Motor Vehicles mowed down all the roadside milkweed. Citizens can help protect pollinators. [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

“Gardens of Spirit ,” Community of Gardens, accessed March 25, 2019, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12384.​
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