Back to My [Garlic] Roots
This summer I was fortunate enough to have some time to relax at my parents’ house in the country outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio is beautiful this time of year! It’s so green and lush. Back in June, my 2-year-old niece from Colorado had gazed into the forest behind my parents’ house and said, “Ooh, look at that jungle.” That’s how lush it is!
Being there, enjoying nature, made me want to capture some of the fresh, full feeling of summer. This blog entry is packed with photos of the beautiful summer plants I noticed there. What I was observing was that I like the stillness I sense in plants. I find that there’s something magical about sensing their quiet aliveness, knowing that they’re growing all the time, while seeming to remain so steady and still. There is a lot of peace in nature, and plants are stunning examples of that – little pieces of peace tucked into small packages that collectively make a plethora of peace.
My mom is a wonderful gardener – these photos were all taken in her gardens – and she gardens just like a mom! Nurturing, supplying sustenance, and then stepping back and just letting things run wild. For instance, her mint went crazy and took over 1/4 of her herb and vegetable garden. It’s so beautiful and fragrant, I don’t blame her for leaving it that way. When she talks about it, she makes it sound like it has a mind
of its own, “That mint just decided to take over this whole corner!”
And the way she says it is half aghast at its audacity, and half proud. Just the way she parented me. (A loving joke, Mom.)
She also has a garlic patch that she started from the bulbs of my late paternal grandfather’s garden. Grandpa Sloboda used to yank the garlic out of the ground, peel it, and eat it right there! He claimed it was why he never got a cold. My mom gave me some seeds from the top of one of the garlic plants so that I can have some of Grandpa’s garlic for my own windowsill herb garden. The very same garlic that my Grandpa used to eat has now spread its seeds from his garden to my mom’s and soon mine. I love the idea of this! I love that these plants passed on their own genes just like my ancestors did to me. We can observe the circle of life in a real, living – not to mention tasty – way. And hopefully now, I’ll stop getting colds. (Grandpa’s spirit is alive!)
My trip was a delight. I got to spend time with the richness of the lush plants in the cou
ntry, with my parents, my hilarious brother, and with happy memories of the sunny Ohio summers amidst which I grew up. And my mom sent me back with garlic and fresh lettuce from her garden, so I’ve been enjoying the tastes all week back in the city!
Photos, Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Mint, Grapevine + Sky, Snapdragon, Misc. Flowers, Beetles Mating on Grape Leaf, Mint Forest, Grandpa’s Garlic Seeds + Tiny Bee, Queen Anne’s Lace Running Wild I + II.
More Ohio photos on my flickr site!