Mother Nature at Work and the Garden in My Yard

My garden was bare and brown. The world was shut down. 

There were no flowers growing.      People were not outgoing.       

The warm weather is here already.    Is the vaccine the remedy?      

Will my garden be rejuvenated?    Will everyone get vaccinated?  

I need to remove the garden’s debris.     Everyone must still be apart socially.  

Is that a leaf I see on my neighbor’s tree?  We can soon gather again, hopefully.  

I stayed in my home throughout the pandemic. To keep busy, I downloaded apps to learn to play the piano and how to speak Spanish. I logged into classes and seminars offered online. I even bought a headset and spent time in virtual reality. Every Thursday, I joined fellow seniors for our weekly photography class.  While looking out the window one cloudy and overcast day, I wondered when or if the world we knew before the shut-down would ever return.  Then I realized that the weather personified the world in that no matter how gloomy the situation or the day is, tomorrow will come and the sun will eventually shine through. These thoughts inspired me to consider the yard in front of my house. 

My photography project focuses on Mother Nature at Work.  More specifically, I am photographing the 8’ x 4’ small garden in my front yard. The photographs show the transformation of a yard filled with debris, a dying bush and dry leaves into a lush garden of roses, irises and beautiful greenery. In addition, I photographed a small bromeliad plant located at the foot of my front stoop and a tree outside of my neighbor’s house to show them emerging from complete bareness to green leafy foliage.

As exemplified in my poem at the beginning of this statement, I chose to do this project because the yard seemed to emulate the environment and devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The yard was isolated and deserted.  As the environment became more sustainable, I wanted to show the yard’s regrowth.  Tending to what was needed to transform a plain yard into a beautiful garden, not only gave me something to do outside of my home, but also gave me a sense of excitement in anticipation of that first bloom.  Each day, my grandsons and I would look at the yard in search of a bud.  Once the greenery grew, we knew the flowers would soon follow.  

I regularly photographed the garden from all angles and at different times of the day, using different shutter speeds and aperture settings. The photographs are detailed closeups of the leaves and flowers as the foliage grew, as well as photos of the entire yard.  The photographs show what the yard looked like in March 2021 before Mother Nature (with a little help from me and my grandsons) stepped in to revive it. I added photographs of the tree outside of my house throughout the project because the tree relied solely on Mother Nature to go from bare branches to a full, leaf-filled crown. Included in the project are photographs of my grandsons working in the garden and some self-portraits.  We first removed the dead, dry leaves and debris that had accumulated in the yard during the winter. Afterwards, we raked the dirt to loosen the soil and added some plant food. The plants are annuals so there was no need to plant new seeds.  (Annual plants return each year and complete their life cycle within one growing season).  

We periodically pulled any weeds that grew in the garden, but the continued growth of the garden, like my neighbor’s tree,  depended on Mother Nature for water and light.  Some days the leaves would bend under the downpour of a heavy rain. On other days, the leaves seemed to wither from the force of the sunlight.  Nevertheless, the yard flourished. We had hoped the irises and the roses would bloom at the same time, but the irises bloomed first. By the time the roses bloomed, the irises were already beginning to complete their life cycle.  

My yard contains a green bush, irises and a rose bush. The bromeliad plant is no longer brown but a vibrant green and the neighbor’s tree is lush.  Although the irises and roses will last only a few weeks, the leaves from the plants, as well as the bush, will remain green and full until the cold weather returns.  Much like the weather affects the garden, restrictions and COVID-19 concerns will continue to affect how we proceed and interact, but just like my garden, we will continue to emerge and grow.

It’s a cold and sunny day but signs of spring are starting to show. 

The dry leaves will blow away as the iris buds begin to grow. 

I’m excited about the green emerging leaves 

Because it means winter is about to leave.

I was clearing the debris and dead leaves from the yard when my 6-year-old grandson said, “Grandma can I help?”.  Virtual learning and lack of socialization is not working for him.  He needs the environment only going to school can provide.  If not, the bars may one day represent something other than a fence around my yard.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, my reflection and myself were often my only company.

On this cloudy day, if you look closely, you will see more thorns than rose buds. But as sure as the sun will come out, if not today then tomorrow, the roses will bloom, and you won’t notice the thorns.

Each year the roses are a different shade of red. We waited in anticipation for the first rose bud and tried to guess what the color would be this year. (The color was the brightest red I’ve seen in ten years).

What can a 70-year-old do to keep busy?

What should I do to not go stir-crazy?

I’m not into cooking, baking and watching TV.

So, I learned to play the piano to keep my mind busy.

The iris buds are starting to fill in the gaps in the garden. We have to be careful where we step so we don’t disturb or damage them. Since traffic was minimal and the air less toxic, even the soil is a richer brown.

I saw only tall leaves like blades of grass and wondered if the irises would actually bloom into flowers.

Like the groundhog, I came outside and saw my shadow. Is the warm weather coming soon?  Is the shutdown almost over?

The first iris flower to bloom. The rest will follow soon. The color is vibrant. The stems are tall.  It’s hard to believe they won’t last till Fall.

I watched from my yard the wonder of Mother Nature as this tree transformed from bare to full in less than three months. 

Even though the rain has stopped, and the sun has come out, the smell of the dampness is still in the air. When I see the raindrops resting on the leaves, I know the rose bush is welcoming the elements.

The irises are fading as the roses are blooming. Even the trees in the background are coming alive.  I had hoped everything would bloom at the same time.  But Mother Nature decided it was time for the roses to become the center attraction 

In VR, it doesn’t matter how I look or what I wear.

I don’t worry about my makeup or the style of my hair.

I don’t worry whether in my joints I’ll feel pain.

In virtual reality, I decide where to go and what I want to attain.

My garden is growing, lush and green with the help of my grandson, a tall, lean teen! It’s the month of May and he’s looking for a sign that flowers are on the way. 

One rose has bloomed, another is blooming.  It’s a warm day full of promise.

Who’s looking at who? Am I looking at the sunshine reflecting off the leaves, the roses shielded from the sun, or maybe just a closer look at a flower below?  Or are the flowers and leaves watching me as I watch them? I wonder what they see when they see me.

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