It was a gut-wrenching, heart-aching goodbye. As we drove north on I-95, we watched spring disappear, its greens and blooms falling away with each passing mile. And now, on a very cold spring day on Long Island, I am once again looking at a world of brown with only a few patches of green growth — a far cry from South Florida’s lush jungle. So as I re-acclimate to my climate, I am thinking of a post from last year when I gardened in two zones in one week.
Please, forgive me for this repost, but I am a sad gardener. Just days ago, I tasted renewal — and this morning, I scraped ice from my windshield. It hurts. It really hurts.
One day, you’re on vacation in South Florida, gazing at the pattern of a banana leaf sunlit from behind (above) — and the next, you’re bundled up against the wind chill of Long Island. After arriving home, I went through some random Florida photos and then walked around the yard on Long Island to make a comparison. Can you guess which photos came from which zone?
A few posts ago, I shared some garden travel photos that I had found in a box in the attic. They were from a time when photos were developed on film, the sort of pictures you could touch and flip through to relive the moments caught.
Today, however, I’m doing some digital cleaning. There may not be any flipping through pictures, but there is clicking through snapshots of vacations gone by.
While I certainly love the hefty feel of an open photo album across my lap, any kind of photo can re-ignite the senses from a captured piece of time. A picture is worth a thousand words, but so too is a pixel.
Like the photo above, for example, which was taken at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Each time I see this photo, I can imagine trysts and stolen kisses, plots and deceit — all hidden from view by the thick greenery . . .
But I’m jumping ahead. I wanted to save the Spain photos for the end of this post.
Our first stop, then, is a brief stop in the southern United States.
There was a time when cameras used film, and that film had to be brought to a photo developing retail outlet, and that outlet would print your photos and supply a free second set. One set for the photo album; another set for . . . well, I guess, a box.
That’s the box I recently came across while in the attic — for Joe and me, that’s 25 years of negatives and photos of vacations gone by, and so many “ahhhhh” moments captured — the sort of moments that begin with a single picture and then goes something like this, “Remember when we. . . and that’s when . . . and we saw . . . “
Soon, the moments are stitched together, like a verbal photo album.
In the photo above, Joe and I were driving through the heart of Sicily in search of the village from where my maternal great-grandfather began his journey to America. At one point, there was a curve in the road and a view of the valley, orderly rows of olive trees caught in a game of hide-and-seek sunlight.
Join me as I take a walk down memory lane, or, rather, down the global garden path . . .
Joe, also known as “Joey Coconuts,” and I are spending Christmas week in South Florida. When I tell that to people, their reactions usually fall into one of two categories. First, there are those who would like to jump into my luggage. Sure! Then, there are those who wonder if a South Florida Christmas can even feel like Christmas. It does, only it’s warmer.
The only moment when both groups are in agreement is when they stare, speechless, after I explain that Joe and I are going to Florida to do yard work. Yes, that’s the perfect vacation — and since there isn’t too much time to write, I thought I would share some photos.
I’m still in South Florida and while here, I’m thinking of there — my Long Island garden. Before Joe and I left, the bud of my Stargazer Lily was setting itself up to bloom. I just know that by now, nearly two weeks since we left, I missed Lily’s grand opening — and divas hate that. So in an effort to make amends with Lily, I offer you this repost.
The stars are ageless, aren’t they?
Let me first begin by saying that this is not the post that I had planned — but some plants tend to be divas. My initial idea was to give you a “Bloomin’ Update,” with a series of photos documenting the opening of a lily. My one and only lily that hasn’t been seen in years. To use a film reference, this lily is my very own Norma Desmond of Sunset Boulevard fame.
This post actually began long ago, well before there was a blog. I had planted three lilies in what I will call the perennial garden. In fact, the perennial garden was really my first attempt at gardening, and I felt the need to fill it with as many flowers as I could order, purchase, find, borrow, root. There was really no rhyme or reason. Regardless, the lilies bloomed beautifully, but their perfume was overpowering. At times, I wasn’t sure if I was smelling my yard or the funeral home that backs against the woods behind my property.
Florida? In summer? Are you nuts?
If you’ve read any previous posts, you already know the answer to that question. But in this case, there is a reason to the madness. In a nutshell — a coconut shell, that is — South Florida will someday be our new home. About one month before Hurricane Andrew arrived in 1992, Joe and I purchased a house. Each year since, we have traveled to Fort Lauderdale several times a year to do the most relaxing of vacation activities: yard work. And as we go about our palm tree trimming and bundling and bagging of debris, we do a lot of planning and dreaming.
This post first appeared nearly a year ago, and since I am somewhere on a highway on my way to a vacation and faraway from any Internet service , I thought it was quite appropriate to revisit the anxiety that I feel when I have to leave my garden in someone else’s hands. For longtime readers, I apologize for this repeat broadcast; for new readers, I hope you enjoy.
I have done what every therapist and doctor advises people not to do. I have self-diagnosed, but let me first explain.
It’s summertime, and Joe and I are going on vacation for a few days. It’s a chance to relax, to get away from everything, to reconnect, to breathe. In actuality, though, the days leading up to departure mean a growing sense of unease and worry. I become consumed with obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and stress — and none of it comes from the what-to-pack, what-not-to-pack scenario, nor from the airport pat-down, nor from who will mind the dog and the cat, nor from the last-second question, “Did I remember to take my trusted Swiss army knife out of my carry-on?” No. For me, the physical-emotional symptoms stem from leaving my garden and entrusting its care to someone other than myself. I am now calling these symptoms Garden Separation Anxiety Disorder, also known as G-SAD, as in, “Gee, That’s sad.”