Dirt therapy is one of the plans for guests at Adytum…those that are so inclined anyway. Grab a shovel and dig in! There’s always a flat of flowers to plant, or bulbs to set in the fall. There are always fir, cedar or pine seedlings to slip in as we reforest the land. And yes, we have lots of weeds too! Some which I’ve learned to eat, like my adventure with my first Stinging Nettle on the menu here a few weeks ago.
Whenever I get restless and out of sorts, when I’ve been working too hard and not having enough fun it’s my signal to get down and dirty -on my knees in raw earth, with Mother Nature. The old maples have made such loose, dark, rich soil here. Very fun to play in…yet getting past that initial “oh…I’m getting dirty” part is critical. Once that’s achieved, its childhood revisited from there on out.
My mom skipped the dolls in my youth (except “Chatty Kathy” that seemed to have made an impression that stuck so I’m told) and just bought me a miniature John Deere when she was hosting a TV agriculture show. The land holds such irresistible appeal. Maybe it’s just being outside, sunshine or not. It’s beautiful here all the time whether the boats are slapping waves on the Lake Mayfield in brilliant summer sun or if a storm is blowing in off the very same Lake and the sky’s dark and brooding. But to be outside planting or tidying up…well that makes all the difference.
To this day, all my money goes to buy plants and books… Forget that I might need some new clothes or shoes…We all have our priorities and this is mine. Today, while planting in a biting wind that found its way down the gap of my jeans as I kneeled over azeleas, mugo pines and violas, I had an idea: what if guests that came brought a few things from their gardens to share at Adytum? and they left with something in return so we could each remember each other?
When I look around at the trees, flowers, and shrubs on our nearly 16 acres, so many of them came from dear friends. I immediately think of them every time I walk by something they’ve brought to fill Adytum’s bare land or to tuck between maple roots. The lilies near the Koi pond came from a close friend after lunch one day as we stopped into DeGoedes Bulb Farm on the way back to Adytum. (I should work there…way too much money finds its way there from my pockets) Countless plants, bushes and trees came from a neighbor who loves plants as much as we do and is constantly offering more. We always tell him, there is so much of him here in his many green gifts.
The plants that may very well come to mean the most to me, however, are from my mother’s garden, in her 82nd year. They will live on with us as a perpetual memorial long after she has gone. Maybe it’s her who made me think of this idea of sharing plants. She never comes empty handed, and taught me the same.
Whether our friends and guests come with plants to fill Adytum’s land with something from their own gardens,or if they just come, there will always be the chance to get down and dirty in ours. Many of us just like to know there’s something to do besides just relax or read. Adytum invites you to leave the orderly, clean and sophisticated adult world behind and lose yourself in play. It’s part of her re-creative charm and appeal.
I really feel like I’ve lived if I have something to brush off and clean up when the fun is done for the day. It’s marvelous therapy, the healing that comes from playing in the dirt. It’s making a lot beauty too for everyone to savor when they’re here and leaving much of ourselves on this land we’ve been blessed to oversee during our stay on Mother Earth.
Great idea about exchanging plants, Kat. I have thought about hosting an annual plant exchange here on the first day of spring; friends could drop off plants/cuttings and pick out what they want to bring home with them—similar to a used book exchange but plants are so much nicer and they last!
Donn and Katherine Carroll
this is an awesome idea! let’s make it happen…