Perennial presence makes a difference in gardens everywhere. Perennials are my favorite type of plant. In most gardens, perennials are the tie that brings yearly beauty to the garden from season to season. The gardener plants a perennial for a reason. Positioning a perennial in a garden serves as a place keeper. A perennial plant will most likely return yearly with optimum care. Perennials are always growing and putting down roots.
On Monday, August 5, 2019, I lost a perennial in my literary world of familiar authors. Toni Morrison was the perennial that encouraged me to write. I counted on her words to know that it was okay to write in my own way. I wrote about how losing this perennial in my literary world has encouraged me to continue to write.
All my life, I have been a book worm. As an adult, I continued to read with passion. As my seedlings grew into womanhood I read. In the midst of a divorce, I found time to read. I found time to write. In midlife, I decided to write words that I did not see coming from someone who looked like me. Toni Morrison was an author who I admired and looked like me. I admired how she executed the written word on topics of interest to me.
Gardening has always been of interest to me. It has been difficult to find books on gardening written by someone who looked like me. I really have not found many authors of color who write about the beauty of the garden from our perspective. There are books, talks, blogs, and ebooks at the moment that communicate about food in urban environments and community gardens. Books on urban farming are easy to find these days. African Americans authors can write about urban farming from necessity and experience. I say a huge THANK YOU to each of these authors inspired to share this perspective in our voice.
As an African American, we must share the beauty of seeing gardens as a thing of beauty to be enjoyed. We are capable of designing them, tending them and embracing them as they grace the spaces we dwell in. We appreciate the beauty found in the garden just like everyone else. Thoughts on the intoxicating fragrance of a Lilly lingers in our minds and invokes a smile on our lips. Recognizing or how an evergreen changed our perspective on their significance in the seasonal landscape, makes a difference. In a world where we acknowledge connecting with our familiar, we can inspire a new generation of gardeners. A generation of garden communicators that look like us. Our words – written or read – can make a difference in a way our ancestors never could.
Why not share our words? As we travel and see great gardens of the world -be they famous or private – let’s share our perennial perspective. We realize beauty feeds our minds, lift our spirits and inspire us to enhance the beauty that surrounds.
I have to say a huge Thank you to Gardencomm and the Garden Bloggers Fling. These perennial entities have helped me share my voice as I enjoy the wonderful world of horticulture. They encourage everyone to communicate about the horticulture and sharing your unique voice in all forms of communication.
Gardencomm has a yearly meeting that connects garden communicators with leaders in the horticultural world. Part of the conference experience is exploring beautiful spaces. In 2018 the conference was in Chicago. What a memorable experience that was. Our visit to Lurie Gardens, private landscapes, and the private tour of the Ball Headquarters were inspirational. I had time to explore the Chicago Art Museum where I found a landscaped courtyard. This curated courtyard created a private room enjoyed by all museum attendees. This year the conference is in Salt Lake City, Utah. Every year this conference inspires me to see more of the world in different settings with like-minded people. If you are interested in gardens, this is a conference you might want to attend. Gardencomm welcomes garden communicators from all walks of life to join and actively participate.
The Garden Bloggers Fling is the community that cultivates connecting and developing friendships with others that blog about gardening. Every year we get together and explore someplace different. In June, June we explored Denver, Co and what a terrific time we had. The stunning mountain views, the Tea House and a day at the Denver Botanic Gardens are in my dreams. Even the rainbow – all worth their weight in horticultural gold. Each Blogger had a different perspective on what we found beautiful and we continue to share. Next year we will be in Madison, Wisconsin.
A perennial presence in the form of organizations like Gardencomm and The Garden Bloggers Fling are planted in fertile soil. Fertile soil created by positive members. The unique opportunities offered are a bonus, like a second crop. Exploring places I typically would not consider as a gardening destination has broadened my perspective on gardening. I get excited about the possibilities of connecting with old friends, making new industry connections, and seeing someplace new. As in the garden, I value my relationship with both of these organizations every year.
Actively involved with both, it would be quite refreshing to see more people that look like me. If we consider our stories unimportant, we suppress our unique voice. We truly have something to say. Where are we? With our knowledge, where are our voices? Why are we not showing up and communicating our experience?
PERENNIAL VOICES ENCOURAGE DEEP ROOTS
There are quite a few African American’s who will never grow their own food. Urban farming is not going to be a hobby they ever intend on embracing. These same folks can tell you about a flower that Grandma grew or the Gardenia scent of Aunt Ethel. We can even share the beauty of the amazing blue hydrangeas that graced the house in South Carolina. I want to share a big “Thank You” to Aunt Parthenia and Uncle James for those trips. The Hunter ancestors gardened with a passion. A week down South in the summer is a part of my life landscape. The mental memories of experiences with meaning. Perennial experiences unimagined at the time. These perennial memories make me smile. You know what I am talking about, right?? Why are we not sharing these stories?
I challenge other’s to step forward and write about the beauty that surrounds us. In this instance race, age or station in life does not matter. What matters is the legacy that we can leave the generations that will follow us. Let’s be the perennial influence in the minds of future generations.
A PERENNIAL PRACTICE
I am about to embark on a journey to see gardens and all things beautiful. For the past ten years, I have traveled to Europe to see gardens and mentally reset my soul. Many African American travelers do not seek the beauty of gardens in their travels. I have read about the beaches, the Islands, skiing and more. I rarely read about the flora of the places visited by my community. This saddens me.
I will heed my own advice and be a perennial presence in the world of garden writing. I will write to encourage others to notice the natural beauty that surrounds us. Writing in my unique way, in my own voice, I will share.
Beautiful gardens touch my soul and I weep. Weeping for missed opportunities. I know someone has walked a similar path. Someone missed the beauty along the way. I am obligated to share. Perhaps the next person, will savor the moment and embrace the opportunity.
The important thing is that I will share, in my own unique voice.
Noticing seasonal changes,
Teri – Cottage In The Courtby