8 Essential Flowers to Grow in Your Garden: A Summer Solstice (or anytime) Writing Exercise
Updated: Jun 22
The summer solstice can be a bittersweet day when we realize it's not just the first day of summer, it is also the point when there is a little less daylight each day after today.
Today may be the "longest" day of the year, but from here on we are moving towards that other solstice -- winter, which is the "shortest day" of the year.
So, the question is: What's growing in your garden?
What flowers have you planted? As I've mentioned before, I have a brown thumb. Two, in fact. I can grow some perennials -- hardy Hostas are my best bet -- but flowers from seed? Fogettaboutit.
So, you know I'm not going to give you any gardening tips today. No, I'm talking metaphorically, here.
As you look ahead, what "flowers" would you like to see growing in your garden come September and the autumn equinox?
How about at the winter solstice in December? Or maybe your flowers won't break through the soil until the spring equinox in March? Or maybe they're late bloomers and won't reach for the sun until next summer solstice?
"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers; plant your own garden."
A beautiful garden has many varieties of flowers, as does our metaphorical garden. So, let's consider them as such:
1. Flowers for Health What would you like to see manifest in terms of your own health in the next 3 - 6 - 9 - 12 months? Would you like to take advantage of the warm weather for more walking? Would you like to move your body in a dance class? Would you like to take advantage of fresh produce at farmers 'markets and prepare wholesome and healthy dishes? Increase your plant-based menus?
What would planting better health look like for you?
2. Mental health What practice might you grow to support it? Walking, journaling, meditating, yoga, or time spent doing something just for you? Perhaps reaching out to a licensed therapist to help unpack what you're experiencing?
Mental health is part of our total health. Don't neglect it in your garden.
3. Spiritual flowers Is this an aspect of your life you'd like to cultivate? Perhaps you could visit traditional houses of worship to see what resonates. Or maybe you want to discover or rediscover prayer, or meditation. There are lots of podcasts and books that might nourish this particular seed. (I am curently re-reading Radical Compassion by Tara Brach. She also has podcasts.)
"No mud, no lotus."
4. Community flowers Connecting with our community helps our roots grow stronger. These connections help anchor us in this place we call home. We are strengthened by others and we, in turn, strengthen them. How might you like to get more involved with your community? Volunteer? Join an organization? Donate time, goods, money? Be in a play!!! (You don't need to be front and center. Backstage and front of house are ways to also get involved at your local community theaters: www.ggfct.com or empireartscenter.com )
5. Financial flowers Yes, we can't forget about these. If you are able to find room in your budget to save for a "rainy day," are you? Would you like to create a budget? Valley Family Services in GF might be able to help. Would you like to learn how to stretch your dollars so you can still make healthy meals but not spend a fortune doing so? (Here's a blog that even has the per serving cost of each meal.) Would it be helpful to learn more about finances and retirement plans?
Is there a financial flower you've neglected? It's not too late to get'er in the ground.
6. Creativity flowers Everyone is creative in some way. Sure, some people write or paint or sing, but there are so many other ways to be creative. It might be how you arrange the furnishings in a room. It might be how you prepare a beautiful salad. It might be how you engage young children. A great way to explore traditional creativity is to take a walk through a craft store like Michael's (great store in GF!). As you stroll the aisles, see what you're drawn to: Beads? Yarn? Paint? Fabric? But another way to be creative is how you look at ______ . For example, I have seen some financial documents that were presented so creatively, they were a thing of beauty! Creativity is in how we work with the materials we are given to render something fresh and insight-full.
How might you cultivate the creative flowers in your garden?
7. Family flowers Are you nurturing your family relationships? When's the last time you spoke to that favorite cousin you spent summers with? Pick up a pen and write a letter, send a card, or call them.
Send FLOWERS when it's not their birthday! Or has family time fallen off because everyone is so busy? Can you plan a regular dinner once a week or a game or movie night? Maybe a daily or weekly walk or bike ride? Don't allow funerals to become your only family reunion. Reach out and see what you can plan. You may find relatives who are thining the same thing.
How might you show your family members you love them?
8. Dream flowers
These represent a dream you've had for a while, or maybe it's a new dream. It might be something you are shy to share with others. You feel a bit sheepish about declaring it. That's okay. You don't need to tell a single soul, but what can you do to encourage it?
Maybe it's a trip you want to take -- could you do some research on places to stay, sights to see? Maybe it's a talent you want to nourish? Is there a teacher you might sign up with for lessons? Is it a business you'd like to build? Could you invite an entrepreneur to have coffee with you? Can you spend an hour at a coffee shop with pen and paper and just dream?
What tiny seed can you plant this week that feeds that dream flower?
BONUS Activity- Plant your wishes!
Combine the literal and figurative in this exercise. When I turned 40, my birthday is in September, I planted wishes in my front yard. I wrote down 40 "wishes" -- from the small: Paint my bedroom walls different but complimentary colors -- to big: Get a play produced. I then purchased 40 tulip bulbs, dug 40 holes, and planted both the wish and the bulb.
A surprising result: This exercise may reveal that it's hard to come up with 30, 40, 50+ wishes. Maybe your garden is growing pretty well as is and your main wish is to recognize and enjoy its beauty more often.
What would you like to grow in this garden of yours?
What would you like to plant today and watch bloom tomorrow?