November in my Northern California garden often means digging in the dirt.
Autumn is the very best time for perennials, shrubs and trees to take hold in the still-warm soil. The baby plants extend their roots deep underground, settling in for the cooler weather to come. And later, when spring rolls around, there’s a huge payoff: a lush, bloomy, thriving garden.
Last year I discovered there’s another kind of planting that goes on in November called Art Every Day Month, also known as AEDM.
Leah Piken Kolidas conceived this delightful adventure a decade ago, kind of the art equivalent of nanowrimo. I remember feeling little shoots of joy pop inside me when I heard about it. It seemed to mirror my November gardening ritual, only with art instead: consciously setting creative roots down into the warm soil of imagination, knowing that what you’re planting will continue to burst forth in the coming months and seasons.
No way could I do it last November, though. There was too much going on and I was approaching the winter of my blogging hiatus. But I vowed 2012 would be my year to dive in.
And then I promptly forgot all about my commitment.
Quite by accident I stumbled upon a mention of AEDM on Saturday. And there was an immediate pang. A rush of thoughts: I’ve missed it. I wish I’d remembered. I’m not prepared. Here we are in November already.
Almost as quickly I pulled back and remembered what I know about November in the garden.
Yes, it’s about setting down new roots, but it’s also about improvisation and impermanence and experimentation. I never quite know what will come out and what will go in.
Take this year for instance. I ripped out my beloved circle of lavender. Lavender, as it turns out, has a relatively short life span of four or five years.
And the new lavender replacements are a different variety. There are less of them, too; I’m creating something new without knowing exactly how it will turn out.
So that’s how I’ll do AEDM, with impermanence, improvisation and experimentation. Kind of like how we mostly do life, right? Perfect for my brand of art that’s not about the product and all about the process: collage, painting, shrines, mandalas, drawing, writing, doodling, clay, movement, music/sound, poetry.
And that recently-removed lavender circle that I loved so much?
Well, it’s still with me. In memory. I can close my eyes and see it. I can smell it. I can hear the big black bumblebees buzzing around it. I can feel the sun on my bare arms as I sit in the center of it. I can even let it spill out from a brush and a few puddles of paint.
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Don’t you just love brushing past a lavender bush and carrying its scent with you!
Your garden looks beautiful.(and I’m sure smells divine!)
Oops, logged in as my son! I’m Lisa from http://www.all-the-wright-stuff.blogspot.com
Oh yes, I love how the scent stays with you!
Lovely read and deLIGHTfully thoughty-thoughts provoking!!
Thanks, Currie. And welcome!
This is my first visit to your lovely blog. I am glad I stopped by because I learned something new. I just bought my first lavender plant this year, and had NO idea they didn’t last very long. I thought once they were established, they would be OK. Of course, I don’t live in a temperate climate, either, so I keep hoping. I wish you luck with your new lavender. It will thrive, I’m sure!!
Yes, that’s interesting about lavender isn’t it? But I think they’re so worth it even though they’re relatively short-lived.
I do love lavender! You’ve inspired me to plant some …
I love how you’ve compared AEDM to an artistic November planting. How true that is! Last year was my first time participating, and it bloomed into a very creative year for me. I’m glad you’ve joined in 🙂
Thank you! I’m looking forward to being a part of this blooming community.
Oh I just love all things lavender! I have a perennial in my garden that I break sprigs off of from time to time, crush them in my hand and breathe it all in! Every soap I have is lavender, lotions, potions, oils – all of it. Just a lavender lady!
Lovely garden you have! How I wish I wasn’t quickly approaching the season of snows!
“The lavender lady.” Lovely name!