Living in Southern California has offered me options in keeping nature in my life. A flexible work schedule and an unconventional weekend have helped me add nature into my weekly schedule.
Twice week I go to the Sepulveda Community Garden Center.
This little oasis is a city park that has areas filled with community garden plots for locals to rent. It also has a rose garden, cactus garden, butterfly garden and an area that grows food for the animals in the Los Angeles Zoo.
I go there twice a week to make sure my plants are watered, harvest vegetables and herbs, and do a never-ending list of things to nurture the garden plots we rent.
It is my biweekly connection to the earth and all of the little creatures who cross my path during my time in the garden. I've taken photos of some of the creatures, like this Junco I spotted on our fence post.
My encounters are usually very calm exchanges involving treats, water or me being really quiet and still.
Growing the plants is a learning experience about life like no other. Gardening is filled with moments of joy and pride, and moments of disappointment.
Gardening is a meditative call to action, an internal yearning to focus intently on nature for a few hours.
By incorporating it into my week, I know I will show up for this important time. Its importance to me is reinforced by keeping it in my schedule. The only times I miss Garden Time are when I am out of town or when I have an important celebration event to attend.
A garden is like a pet, and I know I have to find someone to help me keep it watered if I go on a trip (especially in the summer).
Each plant presents its own challenges and changes. I may notice that a plant is changing color to indicate something is wrong. I then research if necessary to understand what is going on with my plants.
It is usually one of a few factors: too much water, not enough water, too much sun, not enough sun, extreme weather or lack of nutrients
Any of these factors bring on the pests, diseases and fungi that bring our plants down.
Being connected to water, the sun, weather patterns and soil health clue me in to nature's patterns and cycles. I understand that in August and September, I need to water my plants more or mulch them in advance.
I know I need to plant certain plants during certain seasons, and I know what a gift it is to garden in Los Angeles with our gorgeous weather.
I'm starting to organize my garden tasks and things to research in a digital way. The goals of this are to build a record of the progress of my plants, keep up with plant research as issue arise, and to journal my garden experiences.
I'm starting with my favorite software, Trello.