Let’s Cultivate Our Garden

03/27/2024 Wednesday 41-54F Drizzle

Blog from https://www.lotusandmichael.com/

"According to Chinese Twenty-four solar terms, March 20th was “Spring Equinox”, which means spring is at its halfway point. In colder zones, such as where we live, spring isn’t in full swing yet: The blossoms of our prunus mume just shied away from the cold; the peach tree is setting its buds; lilacs are at their early sprouting stage, while our baby persimmon tree seems to be still in its dormancy…

But I do see that our garden has made a lot of progress since early February. As my habit since last spring, I wrote down the first blooming date of each of my plants in my notebook. Here is the record of this year up to now:

February 9th: Snowdrops got their first flower

February 26th: Crocus started to bloom

March 4th: Daffodils entered their flower season

March 6th: The single bud of Cymbidium Goeringii “Songmei” finally bloomed

March 13th: High Fragrance Camellia opened its first bud

March 15th: Pieris and hyacinth bloomed their leading clusters of flowers

March 19th: Several flowers cracked open among all the buds sitting on the plum tree


And, there is so much more to see! The garden which we constantly built in the past one and a half years, is rewarding us with its beauty and appreciation.

I always wanted to be a farmer, a gardener; to own a piece of land, no matter small or large, and cultivate it with my own hands. Perhaps it was because I was born in a village, and my parents were farmers at that time. Then I went to college in Beijing, and worked in both Shanghai and Manhattan, but my garden dream never died.

At the end of July 2022, we bought a house with a neglected garden, which actually looked more like a jungle. The first day we moved in, I promised to myself that I would turn it into a blooming garden. With this goal, we worked under the hot summer sun enthusiastically, and removed most of the plants from the property.

Then September came. As some gardeners announced, fall was the best season for planting. I couldn’t wait any longer. I still remember when I received my first batch of plants (a peony, a lilac shrub, a camellia and a gardenia), I was thrilled; I touched them as if I were stroking the new-born babies.

I must confess that in my earlier life, I had only planted one wintersweet with my siblings—That shrub was gifted from a high school classmate of mine whose parents ran a nursery. Despite the fact that my parents planted some flowers and vegetables here and there in our house, and I did enjoy their work, I never got involved in gardening. My wintersweet grew nicely, delivering us its first bloom the year I went to college.

Several years later when I worked in Shanghai, one summer I went to my hometown and found my wintersweet gone. “It grew too big, took too much space of the yard so I cut it down.” My father explained plainly, without noticing that my eyes dulled.

“But you plant a lot of roses. Why only roses?” I asked.

“Roses are trouble-free; they can flower all year long even in snowing days.”

Therefore, the conversation regarding my wintersweet was finished. I thought: “If I have a garden, I will plant, and only plant the plants I like, whether they are trouble-free or not; I will make my garden diverse, different season has different flowers; I will ...”

As someone who knew nothing about gardening, our first garden year was bumpy and frustrating. Some plants couldn’t make it through the winter and some others died in the hot summer sun; deer and groundhogs found our garden a new buffet and visited it couple of times a day especially during the fruit tree’s “June Fall”; birds shared all our blueberries heartlessly leaving us none…

Though feeling frustrated, we were eager to learn, for our pure love of Nature, for the promise I made to myself. After planting, replacing, and transplanting hundreds of perennials, shrubs and trees, and another hundreds of bulbs and bare roots, finally, our fragrant, Asian them garden is built.

Time to relax; time to watch my garden maturing; time to rejoice Nature. Since everything in our garden is so lovely and devoted, since Mother Nature is such an amazing magician and a generous giver, an idea comes across our mind-- Share them with others, display their beauty in an unique way—Embroidery. So we create this line: Lotus & Michael.

Our garden is built; our garden on fabrics is building. Everything happens for a reason—“All events are linked together in the best of all possible worlds,” said from Voltaire’s book Candide, “but we must cultivate our garden.”

And we must say “thank you” to Nature.

Hope you enjoy our embroidered garden; may you maintain a garden in your heart.



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