A Desert Garden


There is a garden that I pass in my neighbourhood when I walk with Lilly in the mornings. It is a desert garden, punctuated with muted greens, spiky leaves, bursts of yellow and purple, and an array of thorny cacti.

The garden appears on my walk like an oasis. A colourful reef that I want to examine and explore. I am especially enamoured by the landscape because all of these plants grow so beautifully, creating such a magical palette, with very little water.

They grow with a determination – a courage to flourish in spite of being dry.

They grow all year round and serve as a potent reminder to me when I am feeling discouraged, or lazy, or rejected, or low. When I am reading the news and feeling baffled and sad and hopeless. When I am attempting to show an optimistic face to my kids, even though my son’s capacity to navigate three screens (small, medium, large) at any given moment makes me want to wilt. Like a plant with no water. Shrivel. Like a flower without light.

It is at these times that I need to experience that desert garden. In person. Not flashed up as an image to ‘Like’ on Instagram. Not blogged or emailed or linked. I need to feel the texture of those thick flat leaves bewteen my fingertips. I need to lean in closely and investigate the elegant formation of a delicate petal, press my flesh into the point of a cactus needle. I need to pause. Beside the garden.

And see. And touch. And smell and listen.

If  I could, I would invite each and every one of you reading these words to meet me on the corner, so we could gather together and be reminded that growth can still occur in the most unforeseen circumstances. Meaning can blossom. Love can unfurl. Words can be harvested from drought.

But I’m not  so sure how my neighbour would feel about that (I might put a note through their door first!)

So for now – let’s gather here at Write To Be You. Let’s hold out a hand to one another in the form of a story. Let’s prove that healing words can grow from concrete and parched soil. From pavements and dumpsters. From listlessness and doubt.

Our words are seeds. As long as we can share stories – the human spirit will sprout and bloom and our hearts and souls will never be malnourished.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a prompt. I hope you are still with me. Still reading. Still writing. Take a few minutes and share a story today. Write about finding something hopeful where you least expected it or write about a garden that is special to you.

In the weeks to come I will be developing a  ‘Tell Us A Story’ feature where I will share other people’s stories in the main body of the blog. Body of the blog – sounds like a horror film, but I know it will be quite the opposite – it will be pure joy!

6 Responses to “A Desert Garden”

  1. Jody Norris
    April 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    I live in a home that was Sophie’s home for 50 years. She lived to garden and gardened to live. I’ve lived here for 2 years and I can see Sophie all around me. Each season, new and different plants and flowers grow with vibrant colors, new to me each time I walk up to my door. Sometimes I see a new flower and wonder when did it bloom. Where was I, maybe in thought, maybe in a hurry. To see the new green balls forming now in the garden, a bit overgrown, a lot messy and uncontrolled but I sit and wonder how did she plant all this? I hear she took clippings only to plant her wonderful gardens surrounding all parts of her home. I know Sophie is still enjoying her garden. What a surprise to me to be in her garden each season. I want to take you all on a walk around her garden.

    • Rory Green
      April 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Jody – what a special legacy you have inherited from Sophie! So much growth and history in the soil. I am so pleased that you shared on the blog today! I am always fascinated by who we pass our homes onto – Sophie is lucky to have you tending her patch!

  2. carol hogg
    April 23, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    I actually cried when i read this beautiful post, reminding me of my grandma’s garden, blooming and full of life, and yet so peaceful, as a child helping my grandad in his greenhouse, a little bit older and i used to dig in the garden looking for bits of pottery and clay pipes pretending i was an archaeologist, we had a paddling pool on the lawn in the long hot summers hard to imagine possible in the uk but when i was little we did. i held impromptu pop concerts holding a clothes peg for a microphone, picked blackberries and apples, i had a swing and used to pretend to swing right through the sky into space, in the winter we built igloos and snowmen. when a teenager i used to lie on my back and close my eyes and be transported anywhere in the world – a tropical island or sometimes the garden was a jungle to explore.. i could never stay in the sun for long as i suffered from terrible migraines.. but grandmas garden and her house was my sanctuary.. we used to watch the different birds, the little mice as they ran up the bird table to pinch the food, so many memories… but now we’re being forced to sell, grandmas gone and circumstances ie the government are breaking our hearts because i’m disabled and unable to work.. my plan to be multimillionairess singer, writer etc hasnt worked yet. hence the tears.. in a moment i have to go and empty the house .. the garden is wild and overgrown but alive with a million memories

    • Rory Green
      April 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Carol – thank you for this gorgeous story about your grandmother’s garden! Such precious memories and so vivid – I felt as if I was there with you! Thank you for sharing this story – I am sure it resonates with others as well.

  3. melissa
    April 24, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    I’m perennially shocked and overjoyed by the return of spring. Every winter, during the shorter colder days, flowers and blossom seem an impossible and extravagant dream. I bundle up in coat, gloves, scarf, hat, and think that I must have hallucinated those bright colors, those playful breezes. The idea of bare arms and feet seems ill-advised.

    But it comes! It always does! The trees stretch themselves just beyond the reach of winter, the buds stubbornly grow even while the branches look bare, the birds return – much wiser and with a steadier faith than I practice.

    Gardens are a mystery to me. They really are. If it were a criminal offense to abuse plants, I would be on the most-wanted list. Even cacti die of thirst on my watch. But my sorry stewardship doesn’t stop me from wandering through gardens and being outside and loving the ever-evolving landscapes and seasons.

    I especially like this part of your post: ‘Growth can still occur in the most unforeseen circumstances. Meaning can blossom. Love can unfurl. Words can be harvested from drought.’ Agreed and agreed. Every single year.

  4. Sandra Danby
    June 1, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Gardens have such power, calming, reflective, inspirational, energising. Lots of adjectives! Lots of metaphors!

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