So Many Places–So Much To Do–Or Not…


“Follow the compass of joy.”
–Barbara Marx Hubbard

This morning I arose early, as is my custom, and as I made my daily cup of tea and honey I found myself pondering a long list of possible places to visit with my camera. Oh, a long list, my dears. I took utter delight in imagining myself visiting the town just north of the Golden Gate Bridge where Antonia spent her early childhood. I would recreate the walk we took nearly every day along the Bay. I knew exactly where the old nasturtium beds still blossomed, where the purple bougainvillea blooms along the pier. Oh, yes! But no. My body said no. OK, how about the gentle rolling drive out through the redwoods to the coast? Lovely as it is, again a gentle no. Hmm. I know! A trip to Oak Hill Farm! Oh, yes, I can shoot the beautiful tipped redwood tree, roots exposed, at the gate! A wonderful and beloved image. Regardless of the merit of the creative idea, each suggestion fell into a soundless vaccuum with no splash following the luminous pebble tossed. Then what? I nagged. A need to go inside more deeply. To listen more carefully. What? Then what?

Gradually the excitement stirred by my creative imagination settled to the side and what emerged was a simple question: what if you stayed home? Is there not enough in your own backyard to film and write about? And if not, WHY NOT?


I pulled my camera out of its case, looked gratefully skyward at the gentle morning light and ventured out into my Own Back Yard to look for treasures. Within seconds I saw what the Universe was guiding me towards–a whole lot of Somethings not quite in their prime. I was flooded with humility and gratitude and the realization that my first inclination had been to gravitate towards the technicolor splendor of the fully mature. I adjusted my inner lenses and sharpened my vision towards the yet to become, the green, the forming.

green tomato

An Early Girl, bless its little heart. It is working its way toward nurturing me. And first I must nurture it, which of course I do, faithfully.

It has a brother.

My appreciation heightens as I abandon my busyness and my thirst for flamboyant color. This is about green. Green is its own beauty. What else lives in its lush but elusive palette?

Of course.


The apples.

I grab a red and green apple from the tree. They are the most crisp, the most wonderful apples I have ever tasted. But what are they? I drop it into my bag which I take with me to the Saturday morning farmer’s market. I search out the elder, Jo Gowan, who lives on over 250 acres filled with fruit trees, largely apples. She will know. I see her wizened face among the crowd and move towards her, smiling as I pull the apple from the sachel. “Jo, I knew you would know. What kind of apple is this? Can you tell me?” She responds immediately and practically. “That is a delicious apple. That is a delicious apple before they started messing with it. This is the original apple.” I have an original apple tree in my back yard…I feel so privileged. So lucky.

I stare happily through the lens and capture the small emerging apples in my camera, remembering their promise of the best apples I have ever eaten coming end of summer. Yum. My tummy growls and my gratitude expands.

What else? What else?

The plums, of course, stand next to the delicious apples. They will be offering their store much much sooner. Conner is especially fond of these!


My lovely lovely hydrangeas are just turning from greens to their resplendent pinks and blues and pastel loveliness. I cherish them so.


And the very first of the nasturtium blossoms are peeking out beneath their fully formed leaves. This year I will finally use them in my salads. (Some things take time.)


Not all the greens are in their nascent phase. Here is a favorite I discovered year before last. It is invasive and likes to be very moist, so it’s happy, and I’m happy, that it lives in a container. I’m very fond of it. I was attracted to it for its variegated leaves, tinged with pink. The little white flowers that eventually emerged were an additional surprise.

ivy-ish plant

Of course, dear readers, there is a time to venture out, to explore, to push our boundaries, to learn and grow with new input, new vision, new adventure. But, gosh, I for one am going to be ever more mindful of examining that impulse when it surfaces. It might just be that what I need most–and perhaps where I am most needed– could be right in my own backyard.

Love and gardening blessings,
Kathryn xox

26 Responses to “So Many Places–So Much To Do–Or Not…”

  1. Gorgeous post, mom! πŸ™‚
    I love your beautiful pics and sound message.
    In our own backyard is the perfect place to begin!

    Love you,

  2. Thank you, Sweetheart. How is your new herb pot doing?? That was a great backyard start! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Lovely post, Kathryn…you have such abundance in your own backyard. It really makes one pause, doesn’t it? There is so much beauty so close to home, IF we only look for it and allow ourselves to SEE. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks, Nancy! You are so right, I believe. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your visit.

  5. Sometimes biggest treasures is right under our nose, but we keep searching somewhere else and far πŸ™‚

  6. Hi, Ewa! Welcome! So true, so true! Kathryn xox

  7. Kathryn,
    How wonderful to see your beautiful plants so much further ahead than mine! Living in Utah puts us far behind you in California in our growth stages. It was exciting to see where my little babies will be in a month or so.
    My peonies have just dropped their last blooms of the year, and now we wait for the summer show to begin.
    Every season brings us so much joy as you say, if we will look for it.
    Thank you for a beautiful post!
    PS: What is the last plant with the varigated leaves and white blooms? It’s gorgeous!

  8. I enjoyed taking your tour this morning, So many shades of green. I love the fruit trees and their varying shades. I love looking up into trees. So peaceful. The suspended resting platform in the previous post would be perfect for this! πŸ™‚ We also have a small patch of nasturtium for salads. We have used viola flowers like you show at the top of the post in a mango salad. edible and striking! Most importantly, your post is a reminder that adventure and inspiration is all around us.

  9. Welcome, Philip! I don’t think I was fully aware I could eat the violas as well! (I don’t know if I could bring myself to sacrifice a single one as food, they are so dear!) The nasturtiums will within the month take over a large section of the front patio, so those I could spare. Good to have your visit. Kathryn

  10. This is what we gardeners know, isn’t it? That the greatest pleasures and beauty can be found right in our own back yards. And front yards. Enjoy your lovely fruits, veggies, and flowers!

  11. Well, Pam, you do it in spades, for sure! And, yes, we take enormous pleasure in what we create only footsteps from the rest of our lives. And there is a precious balance created therein. Lucky us, Pam.
    Lucky us. πŸ™‚ Blessings, Kathryn xox

  12. Kathryn–I was on the edge of my seat with this post. I think like this too. When I use to have a blog, I’d get up every day at lunch–lol–and say…what will be in my camera lense today? What can I share with my friends. You make being a gardener the greatest celebration of the heart. Thank you.

    I have good friend who is like you—-she makes me smile every time I see her. I smile because I know her heart sings about everything–=just like you!

    I like all your greens. It was the..moment.. wasn’t it. Delightful

  13. Welcome, Anna! Thank you for your kind comments. Very much appreciated, Anna. Kathryn xox

  14. I know just what you mean, Kathryn! It’s even hard to justify going on vacation when it’s so beautiful here. (But of course, the ocean beckons, as do the mountains, and I know we’ll go when the time comes, knowing that we will go out to beauty and return to beauty. We are indeed blessed!) Have you read any of Gene Logsdon’s books? I believe it was in “The Contrary Farmer” where he discusses planning elaborate vacations with his wife which they take on various parts of their farm. It’s really delightful. Great idea!

  15. Hello, there, Our Friend Ben! I have not read Logsdon, but I see it’s a Chelsea Green book and I will check it out. It sounds both pragmatic and fun! Yes, there is a time to see Other Beauties and to bring those home to rekindle how we can even further the beauty we create around ourselves on a daily basis, right? Inspiration. Breathing in the new. Absolutely! Amen to choices. Kathryn xox

  16. Hi, Lori! I knew someone would ask about that last plant. It took actually driving out to the nursery to find out! I could not for the life of me find a tag, which I usually embed near a new plant. It’s called houttuynia.
    You can see why I might have forgotten! It says on the back, “Grow in part shade and moderately moist soil. Spreads by underground rhizomes.” I have it doing battle with some wicked grass on the side of the house. So far it’s winning! Thanks for visiting (and asking!) Kathryn xoox

  17. It’s amazing how different /prettier our gardens look through the lenses of our cameras. Enjoy your apples this fall. I remember picking apples as a child in north Arkansas and eating them fresh off the tree. Those were the best.


  18. Hi, Sam! They do bring thing into focus, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚ Picking apples in Arkansas as a child is a lovely memory. Kathryn

  19. Ah, paradise in one’s own backyard. Yes.~~Dee

  20. Hi, Dee. πŸ™‚ I was out in the garden the other day thinking of what you said about the frogs calling and that “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Actually it does Get Better than this. I’ve been there. But running off to find it is only sometimes apppropriate. Sometimes you work with what you’ve got because it just feels right. πŸ™‚
    Kathryn xox

  21. Oh, Kathryn, thank you for taking me along on your journey both to your backyard and inward to spirit. You inspire me to plan time to look around my yard– instead of always working in it. πŸ™‚ And I, too, enjoy tea each morning!


  22. Good morning, CurtissAnn! Lovely to see you’ve visited. Yes, you do bring up a good point! Sometimes it can happen that our gardens end up “looking like” to-do lists, rather than the place we’ve created to enjoy! LOL! So true! Kathryn xox

  23. Focused on the true gifts of life, dear Kathryn, you again led us to what life’s journey is all about … ‘the moment’ … and there is ‘No place like home’! Big hugs …

  24. Aww, Joey! You’ve hit it on the head. The Sacred Moment. What’s here right now, in this space. Ever since listening to Eckhart’s series I find myself interjecting the following thought, randomly, into my days, “This
    moment is sacred.” Emphasis THIS. Lest I forget. Which we all do. πŸ™‚ ?Thank you. Love, Kathryn

  25. I didn’t know there were Delicious apples before they got messed with! I bet they taste a lot better than the denatured kind we have around now…

    I’m always amazed at how much there is to look at even in my very small garden. Thanks for the tour of yours.

  26. Welcome, Pomona! I read about your gophers and appreciate your sense of humor. Yes, I was also unaware of an untainted delicious apple. There are a lot of apple growers out this way I suspect I will be learning a lot from them in the next while. Thanks for the visit! Kathryn

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