Tuesday, August 04, 2015

California Gardens...

At the Mission, San Luis Obispo~

Hollyhocks, like last year, in Cambria~

Flora and finds, North Main Street, Soquel~

Chooks and succulents up Soquel San Jose Road, at Casalegno's Store~

3 Laurel Glen Road, Soquel... growing atop a parking lot pole~

Redwoods, and lavander, Soquel~

Plumbago, Soquel~

Oak, Soquel~

Cape Mallow, El Capitan Canyon~

In spite of this four year drought we are enduring in California, there are still beautiful gardens to discover and enjoy, wonderful natural places, and old trees. We are adapting to using less water. The benefits is, we are appreciating native species, and recognizing the beauty in the less thirsty plants, like succulents, yarrow, salvias, ceanothus, rock rose, the lupines, and rosemaries. There are even roses that take less water, like my longtime favorite, Cécile Brünner. The hardships are real, like the loss of mature trees in our forests, dying for lack of water. The fires are harrowing. We are holding out hope for a turn around with this El Niño winter coming (not without its risks,) but I hope the good habits we are adapting will stay. Water catchment, drip irrigation, veggies over lawns, and foregoing acres of lush tropical gardens, when we are living in a dryer, hotter climate... none of this feels unreasonable, or too trying to accept.

Even more than last summer, as made our drive up the California coast, we were struck by the devastation of this drought, and also by something else... litter! It's incomprehensible, actually, to see mile after mile of roadside garbage... plastic bottles, and bags, junk, refuse, paper, wrappers. No place is untouched. And I wonder, with a heavy heart, when did this happen? When did our society let go, and stop caring? It's too extensive, too rampant, to be chance, to be a case of absentminded neglect. I am loath to point fingers, or accept this label, but it's got be said: We have become careless, slovenly, lazy citizens.


We collect garbage off the beach, when we visit. Garbage. It's left there, by people who... what? Think it doesn't matter? Don't think? I am crushed, and mystified. I want to start a conversation, wake up a movement, re-engage our concern about what we are doing, what's happening when we don't put trash in a receptacle, recycle, clean-up. I feel sheepish, too, because there have always been some places that were littered, and there's a tolerance for it... in empty city lots that are neglected, where medians look like ashtrays for smokers at traffic lights, but we are seeing trash in nice parks, on the beach, school yards, after concerts, or festivals, and none of it is right, none of it should be tolerable.


I am buying one of those trash grabbers. It's going to be my small gesture, my righteous fist of indignation raised in defiance. And I am going to clean-up. The world is full of causes and crises, we can hardly make a difference, it would seem. But I am going to do a little, and hope it helps.

All those gardens, all those spaces filled up with growing things, and pretty things, the huge oak trees, the shade beneath redwoods, the cool ferns in deep coastal canyons, and roadside blossoms were wonderful to see, inspiring. I was happy to come home to our own blooms... Calamity Kim's seeds took hold, and now we have more flowers for the bees!

Borage! Marvelous little wonder~

The cilantro, or coriander, has gone to seed. I can smell the pungent herb on my hands. It's one of those fragrances that recalls my mother in her garden, her cooking, her garden lessons.

Zinnias, with white coriander blossoms. I am looking forward to collecting the seeds.

Like firework bursts, the dill.

The cosmos! Happy flowers, all. Whether topping a steel tube in a parking lot, filling an old barrel or tub, I love how gardens, of any size, can give so much pleasure.


Jennifer said...

I think part of the trash problem is the bigger issue of dissolving social structure. Why should I care about driving safely, not texting, being decent, ultimately driving not only to serve my own immediate transportation need but in a way that acknowledges that my own actions are part of a network of drivers who make the roads safe (or not)? Why should I care that there are other people in the movie theater who also spent their money to see this movie -- why shouldn't I be able to carry on a running conversation with my friend or constantly text/receive audible text alerts? I'll stop myself from going on and on -- care for the Earth is all caught right within this rift; why indeed should I care that my trash not only takes away from someone else's enjoyment but also harms animals/the environment? I know -- it is awful and inexplicable, and I think what we need to do is keep on caring MORE. Raising children who care more. Doing our part and more. Sigh. Just think of all the good done by all these gardens and gardeners...the joy, the happy bees, the fresh air. Fine stuff to celebrate!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Yes. You finished my thoughts. I was reluctant to throw it all out there... all of the insensitivities and selfishness that seem more and more pervasive in our society. I am so glad you understand, because it's hard to talk about and not sound merely judgmental or whiney... I am judging and _whining_ but it's more about feeling incredulous that we are withstanding this, accepting it, and hoping there are enough of us still eager to switch, still willing to say, "hey, this littering, and distracted driving, and trolling on FB, and mean indifference... it's bad and wrong, and unacceptable!"

Thank you... I was afraid my thoughts were going to float, alone, in the ether, and I would feel like I said too much, or that no one cares to bother, or that I said it all wrong and offensively and made friends duck and cover, when I only wanted to admit that I am sad, and trying hard not to surrender to apathy.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

And another thing... your comments? All of them... Oh, Jennifer, thank you.
It's so nice to hear from you.

Jennifer said...

As much as I get caught up in days of working and so little time to relax and enjoy and visit, I have been reminding myself that this is the best I have to share with you -- to read your thoughts, to comment and interact beyond the FB "like" (which has it's place for sure, but not as soul satisfying!). Just know that whenever it seems I've disappeared, it's only that the daily demands (daily demons) have gotten the better of me for the moment. I will always be back!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I understand... and this is why your comments are even more dear. Engagement is precious. And...though I wish I had some of the magic of "successful" bloggers, but right now... I feel legit. Thank you.

Janece said...

I feel two things reading and viewing this post... and the subsequent conversation between you and Jennifer...

First, I love that cameras exist and that I get to see the world how you see it! It's a rich, beautiful and lush world that I am always carried away by when you share it.

Second, we can speak up and be advocates for mindfulness (whether it be littering, distracted driving, insensitive and disrepectful trolling or whatever). It doesn't have to occur as whining either. It's a stand for how you want to see the world and how you want to live within the world. Your world is contagious, Natalie! If you buy a trash grabber, others will too. We make a difference by highlighting, celebrating and encouraging the good, right and proper in this world. It's something you do quite naturally and I've been inspired by it (and made better by it!) for almost 11 years now.