How the garden grows

This is the labyrinth this morning.  I can see the plants grow from one day to the next. I’ve let the salad mix and some herbs go to seed in the labyrinth, hoping I’ll see new seedlings soon.

Herbs include all the common culinary herbs, plus borage, hyssop, lemon verbena, summer and winter savory, lemon balm, Thai basil, fennel, rue, feverfew, along with five or six kinds of lettuce, three kinds of chives, and dozens of flowers.

The rest of the front is all flowers.

Along with the stone work, there is drip irrigation, so no watering issues (for once in my life) other than figuring out how often and how long I want the water to drip.


The back, aside from a plethora of poppies, is all vegetables, chickens, and bees.


Here is the famed red mulch, chicken coop in the background.

The baby cucumbers, artichokes, tomatillos, corn, and beans:




and four of the seven pullets, happily eating scraps.

When Larry discovered me baking egg shells this morning before adding them to the compost, he said:

“This is a farm my Okie relatives wouldn’t recognize.”

Indeed! I hope this is not like someone’s dull slide show of their vacation–but I couldn’t resist.


The tag line for this blog includes “a labyrinthine life,” because that seems to me the perfect metaphor for the shape of a life. We can always craft stories about what happened afterwards, but while it’s happening, life is mysterious, counter-intuitive, lots of backtracks and strange turns, which is what I find so compelling about labyrinths. I love that the path to the center is not straightforward and that they have no real “reason” for being.

When I visited my friend Maureen about 10 years ago, she had made one in the field next to her house using a lawnmower to cut the circles into the tall grass. Over time, her friends brought her rocks, fragments, small pots, etc. to put in the center. I was so jealous! But I lived in a space with no flat surface. I had a hill, but it was too steep for a labyrinth.

A few years ago we moved, and the house we bought had a space we could make into a small (16’ diameter) labyrinth, a project I’ve been working on since about August of last year. I decided to plant kitchen herbs and small flowers in the labyrinth rows, and modified a plan to fit the space. I cleared and weeded the ground, and took a stick and a string to make the concentric circles, then made the pattern by mounding the dirt:

The idea for me was that it would work a little pause into my day—I tend to move very quickly. I planted the herbs I use most (parsley, oregano, cilantro, sage, chives) in the outer row, so I wouldn’t have to walk the whole labyrinth if I just wanted a sprig of one of them. I bought seedlings at Annie’s Annuals, the best retail nursery I’ve ever seen.

After three months, the labyrinth looks like this:

I have many interim shots, including one with the just-planted labyrinth filled with hail, which gave me the idea for the pale pebble walkway.  But like pictures of one’s children, I may be more in love with them than you are, so I thought these two would suffice for now.

I pick from the labyrinth daily, and tend to walk the whole labyrinth at least once a week, gathering flowers for small bouquets as well as lettuces and herbs. I’ve been adding to the plantings as I go. It’s an ongoing project. And as it’s right in my entryway, it gives people some idea about who I am as they come in. I like that!