All is calm, All is bright


Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I long or a few stolen moments that are just for me. This morning, without plan or preparation, I had my moment. My hands were in the dirt, my pruners were in my back pocket, Christmas music was playing softly, my coffee was warm and I was wrapped up with my topiary.

I am obsessed with topiary. Even after multiple failures (we won't discuss the backyard, Boxwood bunny, I attempted for three years) or the Rosemary trees (plural) I have composted because my house is not remotely Mediterranian in climate. The ivy wreath that took years to fill the frame, then toppled over into a mass of cracked pot and dirt.

I never tire of trying.

Perhaps it is their formal form that I love with all that structure reminiscent of the Gardens of Versaille and Ladew Topiary Gardens (one of my most favorite places, on the planet).

Maybe it is their green-ness and the fact that December, in Pennsylvania, is gray and dark. Their shades, ranging from fern to forrest, lime to laurel, brighten up my space and seem to breathe light and joy, into the air. Or it could be their scent: spicy, minty Rosemary, powerdery-floral Lavender , energizing citus-y Lemon Cyprus and peppery Myrtle.

But most likely it is their need to be tended to- From February to October, flowers are my focus. I am in the throes of tending: nurturing tiny seeds to sprout, pinching leggy stems to gain strength, watering and rotating flats, transplanting and monitoring and growing. In the Fall, after the first frost, when the days have shortened and the gardens put to bed, it is relaxing to shift my focus toward planning for the next season. But my longing to grow, is never gone. Topiaries bring my gardening indoor.

This year a new gal was added to the group. Myrtle (not remotely original) is a...Myrtle tree.

My mother bought her for me at a local garden center and I hope to keep her for years to come.

I took the morning to indulge my trees with a bit of Christmas pampering.

After a tidy-up manicure, each was repotted into a roomier "home," given a nice meal of Plant-tone, a long drink of water and a dressing of fresh moss.

I rotate them just a smidge each day so the bright light reaches each side, evenly.

My topiaries are a simple pleasure and while they do require my attention, it's well worth it.

They make me smile. They bring me peace.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

I hope you too can find a moment to stop and focus on something that makes you happy,

something that brings you joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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