Catnip, Italian Parsley, Zinnias

Alyssum, Hollyhocks, Marigolds

Catnip, catmint, Italian parsley, garlic chives, tomatoes, alyssum, blanket flowers, cardinal vine, chocolate flowers, Cyprus vine, hollyhocks, marigolds, portulacas, zinnias.  Other than all being plants, what do these have in common?

If you guessed that these are all domestic plants that already have or can be expected to volunteer in my yard this year, you’d be right.

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, my yard does not provide the most gentle of climates.  Over the years, I’ve come to treasure those plants that seem to have domesticated us as much as we have domesticated them.   The results are often surprising and even quite lovely.

Often by late summer the vegetable bed on the east side of our shed looks as if portions have been quilted because of the amount of alyssum that volunteers from seeds scattered by past generations.  Yes, the alyssum takes some of the water that could go to my peppers and eggplant, but the plants also provide a natural organic mulch that keeps our sandy soil from becoming burning hot during the day.  And, well, they’re pretty, too.

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy these volunteer plants quite a bit.  Sure, some get weeded out, but a lot more get transplanted or just enjoyed where they’ve sprouted.  Does this make for a rather chaotic and disorganized yard?  Only superficially.  I tend to think of it as working with nature, rather than forcing nature to work with me.  And since I’m the one who introduced the majority of these plants to the environment, well, this strikes me as making a compromise.  Maybe the parsley isn’t growing quite where I intended but, hey, I have parsley.

Not surprisingly, my stories come to life in a very similar fashion.  I come up with ideas, but how they germinate and the way they fit together often surprises me.

That happened this past weekend.  I’d been sliding elements for the final section of Wolf’s Soul around in my head, waiting to see how they would fit together.  Then, last Friday, as Jim and I were putting dinner together, I had one of those “aha” moments.  Leaving Jim to handle the final touches, I went and scribbled all over a piece of scrap paper and tucked it under my monitor.  I pulled it out on Saturday morning, crossed out one line, added a couple more.  Now I’m merrily writing away.

Is the story what I thought it would be when I started writing it?  Absolutely not, but like my alyssum quilted vegetable bed, the results are turning out surprising and even quite lovely.

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3 Responses to “Catnip, Italian Parsley, Zinnias”

  1. kirroth Says:

    maybe there will be another Wolf novel?! *happy dance* please

  2. Harried Harry Says:

    Two stories! Hurray! Grate gardening. (Yes, I like shredded gardens). From what you’ve said, I think we can all accept your metaphor for writing: put ideas in the hopper (your mind) and then see what comes out! Like my garden, it will develop as it will. I had a place in the very back of my place where I left the grass to grow and mowed it once a month. Now it’s been permanently weeded by the water company since they don’t want to water weeds. So now I’m just going to rip out the fence & plant a new one, then I’ll plant the Sunflower seeds I’ve been keeping for the past ages.

    Bermuda grass took over my flower beds on the east side, so I’ll need to remove the grass & replant the flowers. My septic tank cover is visible, so I bought an Oak looking planter which will be filled with the appropriate mix of stuff and let the flowers grow in it. At least the planter is better than the water well I had on it before.

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