Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ode to a Flower

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Photo by Paul Mayer

BY KIMBERLY MAYER

Orlando. Congress. This has been a tough time in our country, what poet Beatrix Gates called “the thousand day week.” I am writing an ode to a flower because it’s the only thing pulling me through.

A year ago I planted numerous wallflower, salvia, coneflower, Iceland poppy, lavender, lupine, and Shasta Daisy—practically every perennial I could get my hands on from the drought-resistant, deer-resistant tables at our island nursery. I wanted to see what would thrive on a sunny hillside in our piece of old-growth-forest-on-the-bay.

All that I planted, and all that remains today: a trace of wallflower, a little lavender, and Shasta Daisy.

I should have taken a clue from all the roadside daisies on island. Unless you have something you have to prove to yourself, my theory in gardening is to go with what thrives. And daisy may be this island’s flower. The deer have gifted it to us.

This year the variety of Shasta Daisy I have planted is Leucanthemum ‘Becky,” all along a hundred foot fence on the bank to the water, since that’s another sunny spot. Larger and more robust than the roadside daisy, growing up to 4ft tall and blooming early summer through early fall, they are all I need.

The funny thing is, they’re facing away toward the water and toward the sun. South is south, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s all good. Another reminder that we are not the center of the world. If Trump ever tried to garden with his tiny hands he would know that.

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Filed under deer-resistant, drought-resistant, perennial, planting

My Next Dinner Party

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photo credit: Ashley Mayer

BY KIMBERLY MAYER

As for table decorating, it is hard to beat a simple, large plate whose design and color don’t compete with the food, a simple glass that makes the wine seems to float in air, a great big soft napkin of any color that strikes your fancy, and pots of field flowers (or weeds), or a few poppies. Lee Bailey 

Here’s an idea: assuming we only invite people whom we like to dinner, why not tell them just how much? This idea came to me when my husband returned home from a Rotary meeting one morning last week.

Our life in a nutshell: Paul seems to wake up dressed and push off like Superman. That’s what I called him back in the days he wore a three-piece suit to work. I hardly saw him. Whereas I rise slowly, brew a pot of coffee and write my Morning Pages–three pages longhand—followed by my gratitude journal entries, every day, before I even talk to anyone. So I knew something about what Paul was talking about when he said they were visited at Rotary by David Brooke, aka That Gratitude Guy.

A former Nordstrom store manager, for the past 7 years David “The Brooker” Brooke has been speaker, life coach, author, and teacher on the transformative power of gratitude, a self-described “social entrepreneur.” His message: “… no matter how stressful or tragic, (any situation in life) can be reframed and refocused into a fulfilling journey, by using the simple principles of gratefulness.”

Now I’ve probably been keeping gratitude journals longer than David’s been running workshops, so I know firsthand what he’s saying. To put it simply, starting each and every day with a gratitude list—five things for which I am grateful—has me looking up, not down. Getting off on the right foot, so to speak. Lord knows it’s way too easy to start off on the wrong one, and spend the rest of the day catching your fall.

At the breakfast meeting of The Rotary Club of San Juan Island, David passed out cards and asked each member to select a partner and write down attributes he or she appreciates about that person, then give the card to him or her. I read my husband’s card, written by a very new friend, and saw that he nailed it. All my husband’s best qualities on one card, which I have put away in a dresser drawer—to be taken out whenever I need to be reminded.

So at my next dinner party, I am going to borrow a page from David Brooke. We’ll each pick a partner and write down as many attributes as we can about the other for one minute. Then share it with him or her.

This I know before any consideration of food, wine, and what I love most, the linens and dishes and table setting—so much so that I dream of my late grandmother’s butler pantry. It’s a recurring dream of mine in which the pantry figures as prominently as any other room in the Connecticut manse.  Gram had more glasses and dishes than Crate & Barrel, and in the dead space above the mile-high cupboards, rolls and rolls of paper towels. She could house whatever she wanted to store in that pantry.

Gram would have loved Costco. And I would have loved parlor games.

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Filed under dinner party, gratitude, table setting