Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Dandelion Effect

A painting of a dandelion hangs in my home, its filamentous seeds dispersed along the paper like tiny torpedoes waiting to land. A quiet painting, it commands no attention and hangs above a small piano once used to bang out my daughters weekly lessons. I have a hard time agreeing that dandelions are weeds and admire their resilience and tenacity. Hung in the last three houses I've lived in, it reminds me to bloom where I'm planted, even if I'm somewhere I don't want to be.


'Wishes in the Wind' by Ray Davenport, an artist from Sumter, SC where I used to live. A much better photo can be found at: http://www.raydavenportstudio.com/Closeout/wishes.htm

As a child, the fuzzy, round seed heads were irresistible, and I'd grab them by the handful and blow, never knowing where the seeds would land. As a teacher, I stand before my classes every year and hope the seeds of curiosity I blow towards my students will burrow deep, spread roots, and grow. But as a gardener, I've always gardened alone, cocooned in my garden, scratching for ideas. I've lost track of all the mistakes I've made simply because the only perspective available was my own.

This fall I'll begin the annual Happy Plant Hokey Pokey. One plant comes out while another plant goes in. I've spent the summer keeping notes on the garden and absorbing the knowledge and design genius of my fellow bloggers. I have never met any of you but hear your voices as I redesign my garden. Scale, color, texture, whimsy, ideas explode like fireworks and I find myself standing on my patio watching the garden through eyes wider than they were before. Your successes and failures rumble through my brain as I write and revise the list of changes to be made. Plants I had never considered growing will take the place of others that need to be moved. With every post you published, seeds scattered and grew, and a sense of community developed. What may have begun as a quick photo and caption or just a random thought has blown my way and started to grow. An enormous amount of work lies ahead, but for the first time, I won't be gardening alone.

18 comments:

  1. I'll never look at a dandelion the same :-) Thanks for the new perspective!

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  2. I, too, admire dandelions, their perfect adaptation and beauty. And I feel very much the same about blogging and the way it enriches and enhances gardening because of all those ideas, advice, support. Lovely post.

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  3. You are an amazing teacher yourself! I too have learned so much from fellow bloggers and my mind has been opened to a whole new perspective. Great post and happy gardening! I am looking forward to seeing all the changes in your garden in your upcoming posts!

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  4. This is so true for me as well! I garden alone, and I have learned so much, not only through my fellow Master Gardeners, but also through these amazing garden bloggers. This was a very thoughtful and beautiful post!

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  5. "Bloom where I'm planted, even if I'm somewhere I don't want to be." This is good advice I didn't even know I was looking for. Thanks for sharing a lovely post, and I look forward to reading more about your garden's changes. :)

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  6. As I sit on my screen porch listening to the birds, cicadas, dogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and bubbling water from a neighbor's fountain--and contemplating the joy of gardening--I realize how fortunate I am to have "met" garden bloggers like you. In addition to learning a lot from your posts, I also know each visit to your blog will bring a smile or a giggle. Thanks!

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  7. What a lovely post! You put so nicely in words what I would be never able to say about blogging and sharing our gardens with each other this way! Thank you!
    Christina

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  8. I will be doing the plant hokey pokey pretty soon, too. :) I aLwAyS enjoy reading your funny, well written and informative posts.
    Also,I bet all your students are catching all the seeds that you are sowing.

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  9. The garden hokey pokey! I love that! It is so true, and especially this year. What a difficult summer we've had. I've noticed cooler mornings, and I've found I'm a bit interested in gardening again. I've bought some supports for the asters at least. Have fun playing.~~Dee

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  10. This is such a wonderful post. Your writing always inspires and I love your description of gardening with new friends. It strikes such a chord with me as I too have gardened on my own in the past and I've fallen in love with this virtual gardening community.

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  11. Hope your school year starts off well. Gardening is a lot of work and it's very nice to know that I have friends here to help out when we get stuck. Hoping you find lots of inspiration:)

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  12. Nice posting. I want to share this link with you...as a military family. Dandelions are the official 'flower' of the military child.
    http://www.militarybrat.com/dandelion.cfm

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  13. Excellent post. I read this a couple of days ago and didn't have time to comment. I've thought about this post for the past several days as I bumble around redesigning my garden this fall and realize that I'm not actually bumbling around so much anymore now that I've learned so much from other gardeners.

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  14. What a great post! I guess we never know where our seeds will fall... (I seriously want that painting!-Thanks for including the link.)

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  15. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    Tammy, What a wonderful and touching post! Although I was a nervous, sometimes anxious student, I loved learning new things. I have written this before, but it bears saying again at the start of a new school year, teachers have a huge impact on their students! I believe this absolutely. I am sure there are days when you stand in front of a class of distracted or misbehaving students and question this, but trust me, those seeds of knowledge do take root and grow.

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  16. Dang it. I posted this comment on the wrong entry. It belongs here!

    Lovely and inspiring post, Tammy. I don't envy you your forthcoming garden make over but it will be a challenging adventure, for sure. Lord knows many of my plants have turned into Bedouin nomads instead of the stalwart English hamlet residents I'd initially envisioned.

    We've had earthquakes here in Ohio - once under the nuclear power plant! I hope you get through Irene intact this weekend. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts...

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  17. I always enjoy well written posts like this. I am not a writer, but like to talk, so when I write, I am not choosing my words like a writer, but as I would talk.

    I love this blogging community. I see we have some blogging friends in common. I am a follower of way too many blogs, and don't keep up well, but like to make the rounds as often as I can.

    I have to admit, I like your painting than the real thing in the garden. I do munch on the new growth of dandelions in the spring, though.

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