If I were an Earth Mage

Spring has arrived in all its flamboyant glory. Green things have begun to pop their heads from out their beds. It is a time of excitement and a wee bit of trepidation for northern gardeners. Did the perennials I planted last year make it through the harsh winter? Will the new little saplings grow or did they reject the earth I put them in? On weekends like this, I’d love to be an Earth Mage.

Colorado had an early, bitter frost last fall. It took three of my evergreen shrubs. I’m still waiting on pins and needles to see if my first year poppies and columbines made it. Alas, the lavender garden I planted last year may be another innocent victim of frost kill and my own stupidity.

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Who doesn’t love lavender? It’s beautiful, attracts butterflies and bees, and you can make your own yummy smelly stuff with it. I planted a circle of pink English Lavender (shown in the left picture above) and purple French Lavender as borders. It did really well in the hot sun. My blooms were beautiful.

Had I been an Earth Mage, I would have walked through the logic and understood Lavender is a native of temperate climates. It loves hot sun. Winter chill is its Kryptonite. I would have used my mad mage skills to plant this garden in a place it would have received tons of sun and been protected from Mr. Winter.  Case in point – Look at the picture above on the right side. This is an old growth French Lavender bush I slapped in the ground years ago. It gets several hours of full sun and is close to the warm walls of my house. This thing cannot die. It has been dug up several times by my dog and is regularly a kitty bed. While it looks dead this time of year, you can just make out a few sprigs of new growth. It will eventually spread to the whole plant.

Surprises I cannot explain:


Here is a reoccurring “What?” surprise I have each Spring. A few years back, I threw an old packet of German Chamomile seeds into a dumpy looking planter. While I am surprised it grew at all, the real miracle is it comes back each year. What’s the big deal? German Chamomile is not a perennial! These plants are reseeding themselves within the planter. They come back stronger every year. I’d love to have these tiny white flowers growing along the fence. I’ve tried to re-create this in my large herb garden, but the Chamomile won’t have any of it. If I were an Earth Mage, maybe I could reason with it?


I’ve had a wonderful new surprise this year in the garden.  The Tarragon I left for dead is coming back in a big way. Yep – It’s perennial, so I should have expected it. However, it’s where I planted it that’s so stunning. I’ll tell you I’ve tried to plant Tarragon for several years and it didn’t like any place I put it. Finally, I tried the blue pot at the corner of the garden shed. Quite often it is covered in the shadows of my giant Russian Sage. Well, I guess the Tarragon made friends with the Sage. It came back and I’ve already snagged a couple of licorice flavored leaves. Perhaps if I were an Earth Mage, I would have understood plant relationships can be like human ones. Some fit well together and get along nicely. Others seek to overtake and destroy.

I wish I was an Earth Mage, but I’m not. Like most gardeners, I have to use trial and error. I’m at nature’s whim and must prepare as best I can for her fury. While she does bring death and loss, she also brings great abundance. I’m grateful for her generosity. Seriously though – If anyone knows a good Earth Mage, let me know.


10 thoughts on “If I were an Earth Mage

  1. I’m certainly no Earth Mage, but if I come across one I’ll let you know. Serious congrats on the tarragon. I’ve never ever had any success in growing it … and I love to cook with it. Btw- do you have any idea why the squirrels insist on digging up and destroying my oregano? –Jayne Hyatt

    • Hi Jayne – I love love love Tarragon with chicken, etc. Very excited it decided to come back. Now about your oregano. I planted mine in an island surrounded by my strawberry patch. The squirrels leave it alone and go for the berries. I also plant Rosemary close to the oregano. They don’t seem to like the woody scent of the rosemary. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Mine is in a ‘window box’ on the fence. I’ll add rosemary to it and see if that helps. Pesky squirrels. They also dug up some of my bulbs. .They’re almost as destructive as my two year old grandson … who picked the first of the spring flowers … with no stems, of course. Good thing he’s cute. 😀

  2. You’re kidding! These squirrels crack me up. I put a bowl of water out for my cat and they help themselves. Good thing they’re cute! You grandson sounds like he’s learning to enjoy nature early 🙂

  3. My experience with gardening was my childlike attempt at some flowers that ended in despair. I was very young at that time so to see your accomplishments with gardening is quite impressive. All I want in life is a little row of yellow tulips in my front yard. If that’s all I can do then so be it. You are closer to an Earth Mage than I will ever be so take some pride in that!

    • Hi Elaina – I’m a big fan of yellow tulips too! They bring such joy in Spring. Thank you for your kind words. I love puttering around in my garden. It’s one of my favorite past times.

      • I hope it becomes a pastime for me as well! I think that regardless of the things you own or how small the house you live in is, you can bring such happiness with an adorable garden. That’s why I don’t care if I live in the biggest house. A garden shows a positive attitude and it can bring life to anything. I wish you luck on your endeavors!

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