The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

PBP: Week 14 - Gardening

Unlike most folk I have known, I have come to know the trio of Ladies that make up my personal perception of the Triune Goddess in a backwards manner ... from Crone to Maiden instead of the traditional maiden, mother, crone progression that most everyone else I have known has reported. 

I'm unsure if this is because they read in a book that was how you were "supposed" to come to understand the Female aspect of the Geometry of Divinity (what? didn't you know that GoD = math? ^_^ ) and then set out to pursue the deific archetype that best suited their perspective of that model ... as opposed to myself who did not seek out an interactive relationship with the Divine but was, instead, tapped by a higher power during my first Reiki attunement back in 2000. 

In all cases ... where my interactions with the gods of my ancestors are concerned ... from Quan Yin and her assurance of having "known my kind before" with whom I walked for the better part of 4 years before she introduced me to two new energy forms: the independent and aggressive, crone-like energy of Medb of Connacht and the awesomely powerful yet oddly gentle signature of the seafaring Son of Lir, Manannan  ... to the motherly energies of Brìd ... and, finally, to the bright and youthful signature that I have come to know as Airmid ... it is they who made the initial contact with me. Much to my significant and overly left-brained skeptical surprise. Granted, in each case, one led to the next and so on ... but it was still an experience I had not sought out and deific-archetypes I likely would not have chosen for myself had I been the one doing the choosing. 

Being that the newest to me is the energy I am gradually learning to recognize as Airmid, one of the ways I have chosen to honour her is by studying herbal craft and, by extension, making use of my near-desperate need to garden by choosing plants which each have more than an aesthetic application. The majority were chosen for their medicinal properties. How well they will grow ... in pots, on a tiny stretch of gravel at the back of the house which only really gets sunlight (when the sun happens to be out on the northern wet-coast) in the morning and late afternoons ... remains to be seen, but I shall do my best for them and see what comes.

The various ingredients that go into container gardening.

A good potting soil

An assortment of pots.

The bane of my container-based gardening existence, as previously mentioned is the Japanese Knotweed which is still recognizable by the leftover, dead cane stalks from last year's growth while the first of the new, red shoots are just beginning to make their appearance. I do not have the agility needed to bushwhack my way down the very steep grade on the far side of the retaining wall that holds the "yard" in place by myself ... that will have to wait until such a time as the weather and the older boy's work schedule allow him to be here to make certain his crazy mother doesn't break her neck trying to do battle with this plant.

Japanese Knotweed rhizome 1 at the
side of the retaining wall.

Japanese Knotweed rhizome 2 at the front of
the retaining wall.

So, we're going to move into the actual planting portion of the project ...

Which begins with the question, what in the heck are those things at the bottom of the pot?

They are the little plastic containers that the smallest seedlings and perennial bedding plants come in ... Most everyone I have seen who do container type gardening will fill the bottom quarter of a pot with gravel before adding the soil mixture. The purpose for this is, of course, drainage, to give excess water somewhere to go other than killing the roots of your plant by waterlogging them. But, being that gravel is made of stone, this results in ridiculously heavy pots to move around the garden. These little plastic containers have the benefit on not being bio-degradable so they will not break-down and they create a light and yet ample drainage setup for your container plants. This and Styrofoam (so don't get rid of your packing peanuts ... use them for drainage) are used by professional nurseries in their own pottings.

The little plastic starter pots have the advantage of being able to be cut down to the best size that will suit your pot  and the remains are recyclable with the rest of your household plastics. Waste not and all that, eh?

Above you can see (1) my Gentian as it came out of the pot ... not an uncommon sight for all gardeners is the (2) rootbound state that the plant came out in. Whether your plant is badly rootbound, or only slightly so, it is well advised to take a sharp garden knife (means used only for gardening purposes) and cut (3) the bottom of the rootball crosswise to a depth of about 1/2 an inch before placing the plant into it's new spot (4). This stimulates the plant to generate new root material and enhances its chances to taking and thriving . Finish planting as per normal and label the plant. (making certain before hand, of course, to check the growing instructions for each plant you are going to work with ... how much sun/shade does it need .. is it drought resistant or does it need to be always moist? etc.)

L/R - Uva Ursi, Black Elder, Rosemary

Lemon Balm

Periwinkle Cat and Redwood Sorrel Dog in full shade where they will thrive.

foreground: Lavendula
midground: Giant Blue Lobelia
background: 3 shades of Vervain.Verbena

Although I am not yet finished ... many of the plants that will eventually grace my little garden need to be seeded in the next few weeks before they can be added to the garden ... I do feel pleased with the small beginning I have made.

In all, I have a kitchen herbs crate (golden oregano, chives, curry, sage, etc.), more oregano and sage in a pot together, two Yarrow plants separated by a myosotis (forget-me-not), two different kinds of Lavender (Lavendula and Provence), three different varieties of Vervain/Verbena (they are the same plant however you choose to call them), periwinkle, redwood sorrel, giant Blue Lobelia, Uva Ursi, Rosemary, Black Elder, and Gentian ... as well as I managed to pick up a live rootsystem for Echinacea which is in it's own pot in anticipation of some lovely Purple Coneflower and White Swan blooms to come.

I began with no idea how I was going to make any kind of nice looking arrangement with the whole thing ... but it all kind of came together as I finished each pot and went to place it with it's neighbours. I even got a compliment from the Landlord's wife (upstairs) as she spotted it from her back balcony while I was watering them today.

A good beginning.

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