Consider the Lilies – It’s Time to Plan Your Garden


 Jacki Kellum’s Garden in July of 2015

The other day, I wrote about the fact that April is on its way and along with April, flowers will begin their annual parade of color through my yard. I have been ruminating over the reasons that I feel compelled to work like a slave in my garden.  I often say that if someone told me that I had to garden–just for pay, I’d pass.  If money were the only motivation, I would say that the labor of gardening is far too much for what I’d be paid for my efforts. Surely, there are other benefits. There are other reasons that I am compelled to garden.

ZenGarden Quote2

As a result of my gardening efforts, I am able to create Zen-like spots where I can go to unwind.

It’s been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development. If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down. Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers. So we need them, in some deep psychological sense, which I don’t suppose anybody really understands yet. – Jane Goodall

There are several health benefits to gardening.  For me, the only anecdote for the winter doldrums is spring and getting back outside and back to work in my garden.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I also garden to keep the gate that links to my childhood open. My grandmother was an avid gardener. She had massive flower beds, and gardening reminds me of my grandmother.


Grandma’s Closet
by Jacki Kellum

The bonnet’s at the very top
The duster’s down below.
Fancy flowers are drying still,
They’re hanging in a row.

Breathe the sunshine, weeds, and dirt,
Catch the seeds from Grandma’s skirt,
Store them in you summer shirt,
Plant them, let them grow.

© jacki Kellum November 24, 2015

My grandparents not only owned their own home, they also owned the string of houses next to them.  Keep in mind that this was a rural community, and my grandparent’s houses had immense lots.  The people who rented had nice yards, but my grandmother gardened the backs of all of the yards that my grandparents owned, and on the absolute back of the land, my grandmother planted a glorious stand of hollyhocks.

There was an alley behind the hollyhocks and my street was behind the hollyhocks.  As a young child, at least once a day, I used to walk through the alley, into the towering stand of hollyhocks, and through my grandmother’s flower garden–and finally, to her house.  As soon as I passed beneath the sheltering arms of the hollyhocks, I felt safe and protected. It was a magnificent pilgrimage, and even today as I retrace those steps, my spirit is lifted.

Certainly, as I labor to create my own garden now, my main ambition must be that of holding on to my grandmother’s garden, my grandmother, and my own childhood.  Actually, there could be no better reason at all.

But I also love wildflowers–even those that are often considered to be weeds.


Wildflowers Painted in Alaska – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. – A. A. Milne

Flowers have motivated many painters.

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. – Claude Monet


Sunflower – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him. –  Augueste Rodin

Flowers inspire musicians and writers, too.

In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have to support the beauty, the poetry, of life. – Jonas Mekas

tulips1 (1)

In the Pink – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

My parents told me I’d point to a bed of flowers and say ‘Pink. Pretty,’ before I knew any other words. – Joni Mitchell


Red Hibiscus – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Especially in the Northeast, where winters are long, everything becomes dull when the world is not in bloom. Flowers are the simple, little punches of color that transform the vista from the ordinary–from the blah–to the extraordinary.

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. – Doug Larson

Both working and sitting in my garden are probably the activities that most keep me sane. I have written blog posts in which I have tried to catalog all of the reasons that my garden is vital to me.  For example, there are health benefits in my being able to root around in the dirt and become part of what nature, plants, and seeds can produce.  I have built a waterfall, and the sounds that it makes are soothing to me and watching the cascading water is mesmerizing. I also have bird feeders and bird baths.  Being able to sit, just feet away from my feeding and bathing birds is an invaluable treat for me. It is through gardening that I am most delighted.

Earth laughs in flowers. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


My garden is also the way that I process time. I mark the seasons that come and have gone in my life through flowers. Something about nature softens the blow of aging.


Thanksgiving Across the Lake – Jacki Kellum


December River – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Because of their seasonal natures, flowers are even more beautiful to me because of winter. I often wish that I lived in a tropical area, where flowers bloom all year long, but in reality, because flowers go, I enjoy them even more when they return, and during winter, I allow my spirit to rest–just as the flowers rest.

Nature is essential for me. It is also the main way that I pray.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. – Martin Luther

My love and my absolute need of nature and gardening and flowers are the reasons that I would hate living on Mars. Because I love to garden, I don’t even want to live in a condominium. Living on Mars would be hell for me.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. – Iris Murdoch

©Jacki Kellum February 27, 2015

Longing for Gravity


2 thoughts on “Consider the Lilies – It’s Time to Plan Your Garden

  1. An ironic comment about flowers from someone named Iris. Irony abounds. Like spring flowers. Actually, you quote two of my favorite persons whom I have never met or contacted: Jane Goodall and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I’m glad that gardening delights you so much. I’m drawn to the (ironic) notion that one works so hard to have a place where one can do nothing. My parents gardened but did not seem to enjoy the effort before, during, or after. So I was not instilled with the pleasure you have. Of your own painted work, the trees are especially glorious (to me), as is the red hibiscus. Thanks for this reverie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is ironic that I work to rest and look at the work that I have done. What I did not say here is that the actual working in the garden is therapeutic to me. I am not sure why. It is a mesmerizing physical activity, where I am concerned. Through the work, I release endorphins and I soak the Vitamin D and breathe the fresh air. Other than that, I am perplexed by what I enjoy so very much about gardening. Housework releases endorphins and I hate that.

      Liked by 1 person

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