It’s that time of year when gardens are lush and summer growth at its peak. This summer seems to have out done itself. The other day I heard a tourist on the Spit comment, “Every direction I turn, I see beauty! This place is amazing!”
Homer’s location could be called Alaska’s Riviera. Not only stunning views at each turn, but the light changes every few minutes and as a result the view changes too. Walks along the trails are dotted with wild flowers and green textures, song birds chortle, moose with calves and stunning sandhill crane are normal sights for us at the End of the Road.
In fact, we get so accustomed to such wonder, it becomes as much a part of our day as breakfast or brushing our teeth. Perhaps we get so used to this geography, the stress of any given day blinds us from its unique beauty. We don’t see or notice the daily magic of this place in the hustle-bustle of summer busy-ness.
Some days the view out my window looks like an award-winning Japanese painting with its many layers and textures of gray. Other days it reminds me of a scene out of National Geographic Travel magazine. Some areas around Homer look like the hills have been painted pink, the color of joy, as fireweed gets its color going.
We have to pinch ourselves as a reminder this is not a dream. We have the privilege of living here awash in a daily shower of beauty.
Living with such abundance, many in Homer are inspired to plant a garden for beauty, one that mirrors, or something akin to, the view at Baycrest for the first time when a person holds his/her breath as the Spit stretches its long curved arm into emerald-colored water at the base of snow-capped mountains.
Gardens abound and citizens and businesses along with the city join in garden planting, cleaning out and preparing. The springtime hustle and bustle of activity is contagious as window boxes, small gardens along Pioneer and businesses all over Homer increase. Hanging baskets dangle from hooks under the eaves and along porches of homes when weather dictates. Garden beds and tubs flourish on the Spit. Annual flowers and perennials seem to pop up everywhere.
All summer color changes simultaneously with changing light. There seem to be gardens for all the months of the year, in which things of beauty may be in season as if all gardening reflects landscape-painting.
Maybe we aren’t aware. Maybe gardens are knee-jerk reactions to this geography. We plant gardens similarly to the birds’ return to Mud Bay. It’s in our blood and bones. Maybe in our hearts all of us want to honor the greater beauty of this particular Hamlet by the Sea and botany fever takes hold as we clean up, clean out, dig and replant, later grubbing weeds from gravel paths and trim and dead head, water and talk to the plants growing, growing, growing 24 hours a day.
Maybe plants know this and respond with overflowing color and added loveliness in our lives.
It’s a little like Pick.Click.Give. Place a plant in the ground or pot, give it food and water and it gives back four fold or more. A person doesn’t have to live in England or France to become a little crazy about gardening.
Whatever the reason we garden, Homer seems to get more beautiful by the year. Maybe in times of financial hardship, collectively we can beautify this incredible geography even more. Let’s continue to pay it forward with beauty and bounty of Homer’s extraordinary gardens.
Flo Larson is a Homer Foundation board member who is hooked on gardens. By the way, this weekend is the Homer Garden Club’s annual Gardeners Weekend. It’s designed to educate and inspire.