Garden e-Diary–Cinco de Mayo

The birds in the cage attached to my back fence seem to have survived the horrific deluge that we had last night.

Someone suggested that they are fighting cocks being raised for that awful, illegal enterprise. Meanwhile, it looked like whoever had added wood to the top of the cage to shelter them from the rain.

But a closer look suggests that they were just dumping more waste. Did I mention that this is the utility easement?

Garden e-Diary—5.1.16

When I got back to Florida, I was greeted by the faeries and Mr. Beyer’s bright pink lilies. It was a nice welcome home.

There were also lots of the little bushes of white flowers that the butterflies and honey bees love. I call them  wildflowers. Most Floridians refer to them as weeds. I’ve been pulling them out of the flower beds and yard since I got here, leaving a few clusters here and there for the bees.

I planted five little palm tree sprouts when I was here last time and they seemed to be off to a good start. Only two of them survived the dry spell without me, however. Fortunately, there are plenty of new sprouts around the yard thanks to our industrious squirrel population. I’ve transplanted three new ones so far.

I also divided the old oleander in the front bed and planted half of it in the spot where the newer one used to be. That one was killed by the drug dealers with transmission fluid, you remember. We’ll hope they leave this one alone.

The original oleander is thirty years old, but I trimmed it up and we’ll see if it has a few more years left in it. It’s an original old Florida version, the kind that makes seed pods, not a newer hybrid. I’m hoping I can salvage both chunks of it.

On Friday, I realized that the dead foliage on the Sabal Palm at the back of the property was a fire hazard with everything so dry. I headed back to clean it up and discovered that someone had attached a chicken coop to my back fence.

And they bent the fence rail to do it.

I knew the faeries were a bit out of sorts when I arrived but I was too tired and busy to think about why. Now I know what they are upset about. Aside from the vandalism to my fence, and the obvious health hazards, these poor birds are out in that cage in 90° heat!!! I cleared the tinder from my palm tree and went back to pulling weeds in the front bed. Gardening is supposed to be relaxing, isn’t it?

Ministerial Muses—10.18.15

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After spending late spring and early summer up north working and problem solving, she returned to the Goddess Garden exhausted, confused, and disheartened. The faeries seemed to barely notice her return. She could feel their busy hum throughout the yard but they were submerged in the energies from the other realms.

She sat inside the screen porch next to the house the first night surveying the mess that had been waiting for her. The yard was in the worse shape it ever had been in. Because the local drug dealers had started letting their pitbulls run loose in the neighborhood again (as part of their latest harassment escalation), she was afraid of being sued if someone was bitten on her property and had stopped having the grass cut. She was replacing the lawn with an extensive landscape project. Raised flower beds would curve around the property and a tree-lined “country lane” would wind across the whole yard next to a dry river bed that would provide extra drainage in heavy rains. It was an ambitious plan and there had been much left to be done when she last left town. She had sprayed an herbicide on the areas of grass that hadn’t been dug up to kill it while she was away. Unfortunately, it hadn’t worked, at least not for long.

Early the next morning, she put on work clothes and went to work with shovel, rake, and clippers. The temperature was in the high 90’s with humidity to match. She took frequent breaks but managed to put in at least five hours almost every day, digging, pulling weeds, and pruning. Then a lengthy spell of heavy rain moved in. The yard was underwater for days at a time. Still, she would wade out to high ground and pull weeds furiously.

She was so consumed by the arduous work that she almost forgot about the faeries. Then one day she noticed that pink flowers had started to bloom all over the yard. The pink-tinged bougainvillea around the outer wall of the Goddess Garden seemed to blossom overnight. The little wild lily she had found in the yard and replanted next to the screen porch was suddenly full of little pink star-like blooms. Next the large pink lilies she had planted across the front of the yard began to bloom again. They had bloomed full force when she was there in the spring and should have been done for the year, but one after another they kept sending up stalks which opened into bright pink trumpets. Finally it dawned on her that the fey folk were letting her know that they were there with her, helping as best they could. Her burden lightened as she began to feel them beside her when she worked.

Then one afternoon she began weeding a large elevated bed where she had planted three jacaranda trees with rows of small cuttings in between them. The trees were thriving but the cuttings had been eaten up by the weeds that took over while she was away—or so she thought. As she yanked the overgrowth out of the bed she suddenly realized that a lot of the cuttings were alive and well under the weeds. As she carefully pulled the weeds away uncovering more and more of the cuttings, she began to hear the small faeries clapping cheerfully. “We told them you’d be back to save them,” they sang. “We told them not to give up.”

That night she sat on the front patio with a glass of wine, despite the noise from the drug related businesses (working well past the hour when they were supposed to stop) and despite the glare from the rows of bright fluorescent lights which now lit up the building next door and flooded the stars out of the night sky. She let her weariness (and the wine) overtake her as she thought about where she would begin her work in the morning.

She was sinking into the weight of her tired body and the heavy fog that had begun to fill her brain when she became aware of a large figure moving slowly in her direction. She focused on the figure and began to see the blurry image of a women dressed in a flowing white dress. The Lady in White was clearly there for her, but made no direct contact as she moved gracefully around the the patio. The flowing movement filled the area with a powerful energy as she moved. There was something important happening but the Lady in White gave no clue as to what it was. Eventually the Lady in White faded away without communicating anything but her presence.

A special blessing had settled over the garden and its creator. The moon rose majestically as if to confirm the power of the occurrence. The scent of flowers wafted through the yard.

Then the sound of car engines and noisy tools came back into her consciousness. Still, something was different. But what?

©2015 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Reprinted from Let the Spirit Guide You!
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This week begins a new cycle of growth and prosperity. Let go of limitations and expect abundance. Be generous. Be grateful. What you focus on will be magnified and multiplied. Don’t waste this time on revenge. Your dream life is waiting if you seize the opportunity to move forward.

Garden e-Diary 10.15.15

Posted October 15th, 2015 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Garden e-Diary, Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?
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I’ve been struggling to get my life reorganized since I got back to New York. I finally, just his morning, finished my next column for Retailing Insight and emailed it to my editor. Now I’m returning to my personal websites. Over the next week, I’ll try and recap my progress in the Goddess Garden during the last few months for you.

Let’s ease into it with the latest on the Mango Bed. After a thorough weeding, it didn’t take the weeds long to reestablish themselves. This is what it looked like on September 20, 2015.

I was working five to eight hours a day trying to get my yard shaped up. The Mango Bed was way down the list of priorities. Still it was gnawing at me, probably because it was the one small space that I thought I had gotten under control. I managed to divert enough time to it that by September 22 it was back in decent shape again.

By the time I left town, the weeds were making their presence known, but it was too late to do anything more about it. I’m hoping they won’t completely takeover again while I’m out of town.

To Be Continued…

10.11.15 Ministerial Muses

Posted October 11th, 2015 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?, Ministerial Muses
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I’m back in New York after almost three months in Florida. My stay in Bradenton was grueling this time and extended a month because of the emergency conditions. We had serious rainfall, not as bad as South Carolina, but after a decade or more of drought conditions, the downpours were a shock. My yard was under water for about a third of the time I was there. An old roof leak opened up and part of my ceiling collapsed and I was up two nights emptying buckets down the sink to keep the water at bay. Trying to find and stop a roof leak is a great spiritual exercise. Water is an adversary that is quietly and consistently pervasive, nearly imperceptible, and unrelenting. My world became very small and immediate indeed. The point of the lesson I believe.

Then there was the pit bull attack. Yes, the little pit bull that tried to kill me in May was back in my yard, much more aggressive than the last time, and accompanied by his sidekick chihuahua who was barking nonstop at his heels as he came at me again and again.

I was swinging my shovel back and forth as fast as I could, trying to keep him at bay while I screamed “Help me!” at the top of my lungs. It seemed to go on for hours but was probably only a minute or two in duration. Then someone called to him from the house on the corner and he and his sidekick left as quickly as they arrived. Because I wasn’t able to get a photograph of him while he was attacking me, no ticket was issued by Animal Services. When I asked if the two previous tickets that were issued had been served, the Animal Services Officer couldn’t verify that they had been. Fortunately, the deputy who arrived in response to my call to the Manatee Sheriff’s Office, while he didn’t have legal grounds to file an official complaint, managed the situation in a way that finally stopped the owners of these vicious dogs from letting them run loose for the duration of my stay in Bradenton.

Now, I‘m back in New York and the grueling stress is mental rather than physical. I have publishing deadlines to meet, and after telling publicists that review copies that they send to me would be safe with my doormen, it turns out that they weren’t. They have disappeared from the building’s front desk and the post office is still trying to track them down.

I keep reminding myself to ask, “What is the lesson I am supposed to be learning here?” In the meantime, while I’m figuring it out, I’d give my kingdom for a good night’s sleep! Can anybody out there relate?

The time of balancing and testing is over. If you have done the work, you will be amazed at how quickly your world returns to normal. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward and trust that your newly formed skills and the forces of the universe will carry you to safe ground and beyond.

Ministerial Muses—10.4.15

Posted October 4th, 2015 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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The Herbie Rose Village of the Arts Center, Gallery, and Gardens opened this weekend at the ArtWalk in the Village of the Arts.

Zoe Von Averkamp did her usual outstanding job despite the recent loss of Jerry, her beloved husband of 57 years. The Center displays a selection of Herbie’s work in an understated and very serene environment.

There are lots of original watercolors (carefully curated by his wife Graciela Giles) as well prints of his work. I was struck by his cutting edge use of color. He drew on his tropical roots and elevated it to something new and unique. I remembered the exhibit of FSU faculty art I recently saw at the The Ringling Museum. I was also struck by the collective use of “neo-tropical” color and light in that exhibit. As my friend Bernie Popovich and I looked through this carefully selected collection of Herbie’s work, I couldn’t help but think that he had influenced a whole group of local artists with his work. His legacy is indeed something to be proud of.

CLICK HERE to see more of Herbie’s work.

Old-timers like myself know that the Village of the Arts exists because of Herbie’s stature, vision, persistence, and ability to get others to work together toward a common goal. I happened to cross his path at Playing for Change a few weeks ago. He and Graciela were enjoying the music of the day despite his recent serious health challenges. He greeted me with his mile-wide smile and a hearty hello. I wasn’t sure he actually knew who I was. It didn’t matter. He welcomed everyone into his world with the same robust enthusiasm. He is one a kind. Bradenton is lucky to be graced with his presence.

This week finally brings the relief we’ve been promising you. Adversaries are finally running out of ammunition. Naysayers are finally starting to doubt their preset convictions. As you discover that you are one of the few left standing, your world will become a much happier place. Empowerment comes from inner strength, not from outer defenses. Stay centered in resolve and watch your world become a heavenly place.

Garden e-Diary 9.19.15

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Both yards were still under water yesterday. We had more rain Thursday than I realized.

The four-foot deep trench I dug along the west side the property to try and keep the carport from flooding is still full of water this morning.

Yesterday there was water on both sides of the driveways on both properties. Progress on my landscape project once again was delayed.

I am digging a trench across both yards to make a place for all this water to go. When it’s not flooding it will be a dry creek bed running along my curved pathway. Last week the weed growth became an issue so I had to stop work on the trench and focus on appearance rather than infrastructure. Still, I think the work I’ve gotten done to date made a difference. The driveway on the west property was not under water for 2 – 3 days as it was the last three times we had heavy rainfall.

As usual,the fairies cheered me on. These lilies were a blaze of color across the front beds three months ago. Last week, two of them popped up unexpectedly to let me know the nature spirits were happy with my progress in their yard.

Garden e-Diary 9.17.15

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My yard is under water — AGAIN!!!

And so is the road out front…

I was out in the yard and working by 9:00 am this morning. It was already drizzling slightly but I kept at it until 11:00 am when it became a steady downpour and pools of water began to collect in the yard. My shoes were damp but I didn’t want them to become completely soaked.

I’m working on the edges of the driveways on both properties since those are the areas that are most visible from the street. During the recent serious flooding, I worked in the raised beds across the front of the yards because that was dry land. The weeds still grew faster than I could deal with them but I did get large sections cleared and looking spiffy. Summers in Florida aren’t easy.

The Mango Bed was in really good shape a few weeks ago.

Then I turned my back on it and this is what happened.

The battle is never ending!
Stamina is required.
Courage in the face of unrelenting whittling-away-at.
Just when I think I can’t go on anymore, the fairies send me a present from the nature world.

Okay. I’ll give it one more day.

Garden e-Diary 9.16.15

Posted September 16th, 2015 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Garden e-Diary, Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?
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Between flooding in my yard, drug dealer harassment, and a friend who almost died, I’m struggling to keep myself together. (Not whining, just reporting.)

The yard has flooded three times now. I kept hoping that it would drown the weeds but, to the contrary, it kept me away from them for the better part of a week each time while they grew faster and faster.

The good news is that no more dead animals have been left in my yard. The bad news is that someone (?!) called Code Enforcement and told them that I was building along the back of the property without a permit. What I was doing on the back of the property was digging my bougainvilla out from under the potato vines that grew over the fence from the overgrown vacant lot behind me.

But that’s a never-ending tale. Let me tell you the more interesting saga of the The Little Bougainvilla Who Could.

I planted him, front and center on the property line, to try and mask the mess across the street. This is what he looked like in November 2012.

I kept asking him to grow thick and tall, along with the oleanders on each side of him, to give me something beautiful to look out on. This is what he looked like in April 2013.

Even when the oleander to his east was killed with used transmission fluid, he kept his will to live.

When I left in May, this is what he looked like.

When I returned in July, this was his appearance.

He seems to have thrived on our recent flooding rains, even though bougainvillea traditionally don’t like to have “wet feet”.

Finally! He got big enough to mask the tow truck parked across the street.

The tow truck quickly retaliated.


Garden e-Diary 8.22.15

Posted August 22nd, 2015 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Garden e-Diary, Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?
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The Saga Continues.

As I told you a few weeks ago, the weeds took over while I was out of town. I worked, like a crazy person, to get them under control as soon as I got back to town. Let me recap.

This is what the east end of the Front Garden Bed looked like at the end of February.

This is what it looked like when I left town at the end of May.

This is what it looked liked after I got back to town and started seriously attacking the overgrowth.

THEN, I went out one morning with my coffee to walk around the yard and the neighbor started waving at me and yelling, “There’s a dead dog in your yard!”

I walked over to look where she was pointing and went into shock. It wasn’t a stray that got sick and wandered into my yard and died. It was a young dog that had clearly been killed, then wrapped in plastic, put on a piece of plywood, covered with branches, then dumped in my yard.

I called the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy arrived minutes later. He took one look at me as we stood next to the dead dog and suggested that we go somewhere else to talk. I was shaking and irrational. He called Animal Services and within the half hour a very nice man was there to handle removing the dog and determining what had caused its death. The deputy filed a complaint and gave me a victim’s rights brochure with the case number on it. I began to realize that this was something that had been done to me as well as to the dog. I could barely breathe.

I tried very hard to ignore the ritualistic aspects of the occurrence. For the first few nights, I had nightmares about the horse head in the bed scene from The Godfather. Then I began to have nightmares about scenes from Rosemary’s Baby.

Before I left town in May I had filed a complaint about being attacked by a pit bull that was allowed to run loose in the neighborhood. It’s been an ongoing problem.

The dog was still running loose the day I left town. As angry as I was that Animal Services continued to fail to stop these vicious animals from running loose in the neighborhood, I was stunned that someone would kill a dog and dump it in someone’s yard to make the point that they could treat animals any way they wanted to and nobody could stop them from doing it.

It was a week before I could make myself go back into the yard next door. By then the weeds had had a field day. Now I started having nightmares of Code Enforcement having me arrested for having too many weeds in my yard. I got an email from New York that said “Come home now. Get out of there!” I emailed back that I was okay. The reply that came said, “Get on a plane and get out of there now!”