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Under the Eaves: Lessons from My Hilo Garden

March 14, 2010

“Garden” is a bit of an overstatement, but since moving to Hilo, I’ve discovered that I don’t necessarily have the brown-thumb I thought I did for many years.

I’ve killed my share of plants here, but I’ve also managed to successfully grow a season’s worth of cherry tomatoes and plenty of fresh herbs for cooking.

Propagating  Ti trees, Song of India, lemongrass and lavender and nurturing along hapu’u ferns and bamboo starts has become a precious source of distraction and entertainment.

The title of this post was prompted by the fact that I just spent the last hour outside cutting back the French Lavender plants that are growing under the eaves on the western side of the house.  French Lavender is a plant that likes lots of sun and good drainage.

In town where the average rainfall is about 130 inches per year, I continue to be surprised that the lavender is thriving.  But, these plants are protected from the driving rains and the fiercest trade winds.  The strong afternoon sun helps too (as does the fact that we’ve supplemented this area with organic soil and compost from our backyard compost box).

Under the eaves facing west.  Protected and nurtured.  Once again, my garden is reminding me of a fundamental natural law.  Not all of my plants would thrive under the eaves.  Not all would thrive in intense afternoon sun.  And, like my plants, each person has a a place where he or she will best thrive.

I’ll be thinking that over a little more today.  Am I more like my lavender plants, needing protection from the wind and rain?  Or, am I more like my bamboo, designed to weather the elements?  And you?  Either way, are we being nurtured in the right way?  Keeping the weeds and bad bugs at bay while getting the nutrients we need?

Contemplating lessons from my Hilo garden….not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Photo courtesy of Helmut Gevert

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