The Mystical Gardener


The Mystical Gardener will take you on a monthly visit through my garden where I will share observations, everyday miracles and transformations. My writing and photography are an invitation for you to enjoy the earthly and spiritual refuge that is my garden, a living palette, in design, texture, color and light.
All photos & writing by Lorri (LB) Goodman 


January 2018 - Turn of the Year (at least by the Roman calendar☺)

I don’t know about you, but as much as I’ve made my peace with the December holy days that are too often not so holy and during which I hold joy, community and light in the darkness, I am thrilled and relieved when the “normalcy” of January sets in.  It ‘s just my nature to prefer the quiet joys and miracles of life that spontaneously present. There’s something about forced gaiety that makes me feel awkward and pressured! I prefer to celebrate when I’m inspired, not on demand!

Solstice has come and gone and is pointing us towards Spring even as nights freeze and winter coats relax expectantly on chairs so we may don them quickly. How fortunate we are, many of us, to have warm and cozy homes and plenty to eat. 

Pictured here is a frozen beautyberry (callicarpa), one of the stars of the winter garden, leaning on a sturdy rose trellis.

Although the garden is resting and I can happily take a break, there is still preparation at a leisurely pace in anticipation of Spring 'o' glorious Spring! 

My grandchildren (little garden sprites) were here recently and got out with all their youthful vigor to cut, rake and collect!  Guided by myself and their beloved PapaD, a good time was had by all and some of the winter goop got cleared!  They treasure being in ‘Safta’s garden’ all year long and I love to show them everything from overwintering parsley, baby grapes on the vine to emerging shoots that will later become gorgeous flowers.  The teacher in me loves the innocent excitement on their faces and their expanding awareness of nature’s magic.

Last year we had a mighty freeze and are joined here by our son Eli and his fiancee Raya in an outdoor fire amongst the frozen branches. We have been warmed by outdoor winter fires for decades.  Coming together beneath the clear, starry winter night has become a family tradition, reminiscent of native Americans passing the winter in their teepees.  Many years ago I spent a summer with friends who lived in a teepee and they commented that instead of watching the various TV channels like their neighbors, they reveled in the company of alder, oak and beech burning and crackling in the evening.

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November 2017 GRATITUDE in the face of troubling realities

Winter’s Cauldron

Autumn rolls in like a cleansing wave
And all is awash in transformation
My garden displays a ‘grande finale’        
Nature’s synchronicity receives  a standing ovation

Why do I love this season so?
It’s the forecast of overstuffed comfort
Introverted thoughts by the fire  
Where dreams like dormant seeds
Release like old-fashioned popcorn
Filling the air with ideas & possibilities

The heat of summer left me sticky and spent    
Now my mind awakens in the brisk air.
Leaves twirl on smoky, chilled winds.
I take in earthy scents of rotting wood, apples and pear  
The North Wind stirs Winter’s Cauldron

Candles in the evening
Gently beckon former generations    
To my parlor
Glazed butternut squash      
Glitters fresh from the oven
The magic of cooking warms my soul
As multiple veggies dissolve in the soup

Angels guide us earthly beings,
As best they can from afar  
Reminding us of all that is good
                                                                   Autumn 2013
                                                    Revised Autumn 2017

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October Winds - 2017

October bursts in with colored streamers, glorious sunshine and departs with molding fruit, flowers & broken pumpkins.  The wind tossed, cascading leaves are as delightful as cherry blossom snow in spring but with a melancholy twist. The rain is welcome but has reaped havoc earlier than usual on my garden this year.  I relish the chilly morning air that warms by afternoon.  We know autumn is upon us and for some that is relief, for others sadness as we move towards winter.  I see neighbors cutting wood and tucking plants into their cozy beds with blankets of freshly fallen leaves.

Earlier in the month we had Succot, a Jewish Holy Day that follows the Jewish New Year . For many this is a time of deep personal reflection. Jews around the globe built succahs, huts or temporary dwellings outside and eat and even sleep therein.  It’s fun and festive and at the same time mystically significant.  “This is demonstrated by the permeable roof, offering protection while still reminding us of the infinite cosmos of which we are a part. Our health, our sanity, our peace, indeed our very existence depends on a defined ordered finite realm of relative stability. In this "limited reality" we can carve out a meaningful life. But if we make too strong of a roof we will lose touch with our real nature as part of the infinite, connected and indeed one with the whole of creation.  Being close to Nature gives us perspective about our lives.  We camp out or walk by the shore, visit a park or nature reserve.  Still others meditate or practice the yoga of cleaning out their gardens!

I love seeing squirrels store their nuts in the garden.  They remind me I am part of the instinctual cycles of all creatures. 

I appreciate the few tenacious plants that are surviving the cold nights and plentiful rains. It is only natural that we go inward to our homes and our hearts as many plants also hibernate to replenish as the nights get longer. Dazzling fires and candles bring us closer to the mysteries of the earths turning.

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Late Summer - September 2017

I awake to the wind moving the branches and give thanks for the advent of Autumn.  Days are shorter and the rain brings relief from the hellish wildfires and smoke.  The coolness refreshes my soul and enlivens my body to action.  I am reminded of projects that I have put off and have a renewed appreciation of simple pleasures.

My garden is opening to the rich harvests that were promised.  Seed to fruition like those of us getting older and realizing we’re in the vintage years of our lives (with some added creaks and restrictions!)

Morning Glories, Anemones and Dahlias take center stage. Deepening ornamental purple berries ‘Beautyberry’(Callicarpa) will soon brighten the oncoming season of the next few months. This year I have 3 varieties of Morning Glories blooming as I continually search for a display that will please me.  One self-sowing ‘Heavenly Blue’ and two new varieties, ‘Blue Star’, white with a faint blue star and ‘Feringa’ - deep violet and rose-pink. They are all tangled up and I am impressed by their extraordinary twining habits that rival even the best African baskets.

Japanese Anemones are the faithful of the late summer crop. The whites are especially riveting.  White flowers often have their own regal luminescence, in a garden amongst all the extroverted showstoppers. 

Fuchsias breathe easily in the cool September days and come happily back to life.  That’s exactly how I feel as the season turns to a refreshing afterglow.


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The Revenge of Summer’s Heat - August 2017

After the heat of the last few weeks, the garden looks weary and forlorn.  It’s time for a long, deep watering as well as getting a jump on September plant changes.  Anything not doing well is ripe for a new, improved location. 

So far three hydrangeas, one climbing rose and one small tree have migrated. One was temporarily heeled in near some glorious dahlias and is now the autumn star behind the garage where late summer display was needed.  Another is rejuvenating, (I hope), in the front of the house.  This is traditionally a tough spot so I knew it was daring of me to put it there. However a large, white Hydrangea paniculata will be so inviting and I’m a sucker for visions of grandeur.  Overflowing drifts in an English cottage garden always get me dreaming. It’s a bit shady and the ground is quite hard from impacted perennial impatiens bulbs. Still after hubby worked it hard, I’m giving it a lick and a prayer, plus organic root stimulator!

I was thrilled (as only a gardener can be) to recently buy some wood sorrel (oxalis oregana) and 2 deep purple coral bells (heuchera)The two-toned purple plus the soft, emerald green tickled my fancy for a neglected spot by the front that could not handle either the anemones or foxglove I planted there years ago.  Could be a lack of watering since it’s under an eave…so heave ho, another risky venture coupled with my vow to water adequately!  The coleus in pots are a favorite and magnificent as usual.

Another poor placement, in too much sun, is a marvelous small tree, Japanese Stewartia, (pseudocamellia), purchased two years ago. It just got resettled near a gate with better drainage and shade. I remind myself location and soil are everything, as I dig out the grass and weeds and congratulate myself on getting to it so early. And luckily with a capable hubby, shovel in tow, following my directions!

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I appreciate you coming to my website! It is exciting to be sharing thoughts, feelings and images inspired by gardening & nature. Please leave your questions, comments and suggestions below!

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