Pollen showers down from the oak trees like fine yellow snow. New leaves burst from the branches and push out the old leaves that have clung on all winter. From the leaf and pollen covered earth new grass shoots up like tiny green swords.
The azalea, salvia, and dogwood are bursting with flowers, and the orange tree smells sweet with blooms. Peaches grow slowly fatter and pinker on the branches of the young peach tree every day.
In the midst of all this new life I bring home seven tiny speckled sussex chicks from the feed store.
I became obsessed with bonsai while I was in college, growing tortured shrubs in cheap square pots in the yard. When I lived in Taiwan the obsession grew, but I was frustrated trying to grow the beautiful specimens I saw at the weekend flower markets.
I never thought to use a grow light in our tiny apartment, and there wasn’t enough natural light for the kinds of trees I tried to grow. Those that survived the light conditions inevitably lost the battle to dehydration when they were abandoned for vacations.
Cut flowers are one of the little luxuries that make life sweet. Whether I buy flowers or cut my own, I try to keep them fresh for as long as possible, and always feel a pang of regret when I finally have to throw them out.
Drying cut flowers is a great way to keep some of the beauty around.
Dried cut flowers have a pleasant scent of their own, and can be dressed up with dried citrus peels or scented oils for homemade potpourri.
The few needs of terrariums allow them to be all but forgotten, then noticed in some idle instant between the bustle of tasks that occupy our lives, giving sudden delight.
Terrariums are one of those pleasant distractions that remind us life isn’t about meeting goals.
Every terrarium is a perpetual experiment. Plants react in surprising ways to the humid environment. Roots grow into the air and along the glass as well as in the soil. Flowers grow and hang on their stalks, untouched by bee or gust of breeze.