Hello dear Ones,
So much going on in life! But … when it comes down to it, really, every moment is a blessing, isn’t it?
Recently I’ve lost a dear ol’ pal of mine to a freaky disease. That really makes one sit up straight, take a deep gut-punch breath, and look at how precious life is. Every minute of it. This morning I awoke and, first thing, as always, is the communion of attune-ment I’ve always relied on to get me centered. In my case, it’s a mantra I’ve trained my mind to “wrap around” so that I don’t have superfluous, unnecessary daydreams. Which I used to have tons of. So years ago, I decided that was a waste of time. And pretty scary sometimes, too. When I discovered the power of mantra repetition, called “Japa” in Sanskrit, I was instantaneously transported to another planet called … “Relief!”
After I checked in with my Sanskrit mantra (Om Namah Shivaya, for those of you interested…loosely translated as “I honor the Divine within All) I stopped off to look outside one of our sliding-glass doors on my way to get a cup of tea (oolong, with chai spices, yummm). I took a full minute to gaze out upon this gorgeous view … all of which I’ve created, with the help of my darling consort, Carter.
What a blissful thing it is, to look out upon such an accomplishment!–my “yard.”
Especially when it so resembles Nature in all Her glory. Seriously. Check it out for yourself. This is the view we see outside our living-room-window door
When we moved here, almost eleven years ago, this place was just an ordinary American house in a crowded residential neighborhood, just outside town but within minutes of everything. It had a lawn that needed mowing, and a few trees needing nothing. Lots of potential — especially for a person like me who likes things natural natural natural. But before we moved in … I had a plan.
First thing I did was get rid of the lawn. Zap! Zip! Killed the grass and raked up the roots. Xeriscape was on my mind, as natural and self-sustaining as can be. With LOTS of mulch (delivered for free from tree services, gladly saving them a trip to the dump). Natural is neither a lawn to mow, nor water to waste, nor any other way but to mimic the biosphere, this gorgeous Earth and its wonderful creations. In this case, I wanted to create a bamboo haven. I’ve spent a lot of time in the tropics so bamboos hold a special place in my heart. Because I now live in an area that doesn’t have such severe winters, North Florida, I knew a bamboo grove could be done. With a plan. The red bay trees, by the way, all died out from a blight shortly after we moved in. A disease caused by a beetle.
I’d prepared for my planned magical tropical grove ahead of time, before moving here, by going to a bamboo farm and purchasing species I knew were cold hardy. Sometimes we get a light freeze here, so I looked for species that were safe up to 27 degrees F. Clumpers, my friends, not runners! For those of you who don’t know about growing bamboo, these two terms spell the difference between comfort and torture, and I’m not exaggerating.
Clumpers grow in tight spirals, the shoots always staying within a close circle and working outwardly. They are easily controlled. Any shoot that starts where it’s not wanted, with one blow of a heavy sledgehammer, that particular shoot is gone forever. With this method, clumping bamboos can be easily shaped to fit tight spaces. Runners, oppositely, grow by their nasty, impetuous root shoots, going out every which way underground, ten, twenty, thirty feet away in all directions from the parent root ball. Unless you have a hundred acres, you never want to plant runners. Never.
The only way to know which kind of bamboo you have before planting, is to know the species’ name, and look it up. If you happen to go to Home Depot or Lowes and just buy “bamboo” you’d be a fool unless you knew exactly which species it is, and know it’s a clumper. Never ever plant a runner. Period. Unless you’re planting in a large, strong container. Or … live on a tropical mountaintop.
That said, bamboos are the most lovely things to live with (besides a loving mate, as I’m blessed to have). One of my favorite things is to lie in bed, either at night, early in the morning, or anytime during the day, and listen to the melodic clank-clank-clunk percussive sound of these gentle giants knocking against each other, in a soft breeze. And when we have hurricane force winds, which we’ve had for the past two summers (and pray we don’t have such fierce storms this year!) the bamboos are extremely flexible, bending in the wind most times. Only a few culms snapped off in the high winds of 70-80 mph. that were clocked in my neighborhood for hurricanes Matthew (’16) and Irma (’17).
A bamboo’s culm is equivalent to a “stalk” of grass, because, you do know, don’t you? that bamboos are giant grass? Here’s how my side “yard” looks. The blue building is my Santosha (contentment) Shack where I do my daily yoga practice. Sometimes Carter joins me. He’s a great yogi!
Who would have thought? I love the potential of making this beautiful world of ours even more meaningful, adapted to my sensibilities, by designing naturally, complementing Nature, not insulting her. To me, lawns are rude.
This next photo is my goddess of the garden. I found her at a property I was renovating many years ago. She’s very special to me also (as all things I live closely with are). Would you believe, she was once a giant lamp? Can you find the blue bulb? Kinda kitch, right! I’ve always thought of her as Isis, though, the goddess of ancient Egypt, not the Las Vegas size lamp someone once had in their hallway, Liberace-style. And Isis, for those who don’t know, is much more than the bad-ass Islamic militants. I say hello to this Isis, sometimes called “the goddess of magic”, everyday. Now you can too. You do believe in magic, right? To create something beautiful from … well, even suburbia? Well, why not?
Blessings to each and every one of you, my friend!
LordFlea aka teZa Lord
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