An Iris for a New Year


A little more than a year ago, a group of us worked to renovate the decade old Iris border at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden.  The plants had been in decline for a while, having succumbed to an infection that attacked their roots and rhizomes.  Experts advised us to discard all of the old plants in the trash and start anew, with fresh soil and all new plants.

While many of the plants were clearly infected and were destroyed, I kept finding bits of healthy Irises I believed I could salvage.  And so I potted up some of the plants to re-use in the garden, and stuffed a few more questionable ones into a bag that came home with me to try to save.



It took a bit of time and care to clean up those Iris plants.  Old tissue had to be cut away and each rhizome carefully washed.  I looked for places in our forest garden where I could grow some of the more promising plants on, knowing I can divide them again in a few years, and return some healthy plants to the WBG should I end up with any varieties that we lost in the renovation.

And that is how I struck one little rhizome with a bit of healthy root into a pot, newly vacated at the end of the season, and left it to grow or die under a tree at the bottom of our drive.  It lived. 

It lived and has been growing for a little more than a year now.  It didn’t bloom last spring, but has continued to shoot up new, fresh leaves and to slowly fill out its pot.



I took this little potted Iris with me when I spoke about Irises and our Iris border renovation this fall.  By early November, the beginning of a bloom stalk was pushing up from the clump.  I was able to show it off as an example of the re-blooming Iris we highlight at the WBG.

After that last talk, I moved the Iris onto our front patio, where it is sheltered from the wind and warmed by the sun.  It sits in the protection of larger pots, near the bird fountain, where we can watch its progress from the front windows.

And today, on the very last day of 2019, it is opening into a perfect, beautiful bloom.  I’m taking this as an omen of better times to come.



How often do we look around us and sometimes feel like discarding all that has gone wrong in the past, and look for a fresh start?  There are probably times when that is the clearest path forward.   But this beautiful Iris, blooming on the last day of December; the last day of this tumultuous decade, whispers a promise that great beauty can grow from what we thought was lost.

Our belief in the endless potential and goodness of the multiverse will carry us through all manner of difficulties.  A little care, an unshakeable confidence in the power of life to prevail in the most difficult of circumstances, and a little bit of winter sunshine works all sorts of unexpected miracles in our lives.

Wishing you happiness and unlimited potential in the days ahead,



Woodland Gnome 2019

Sow Seeds of Happiness in 2016

December 31, 2016 004


“When you assess your own life,

consider it with the eye of a gardener.

Underneath the surface lies rich, fertile soil

waiting to nurture the seeds you sow.

Even more than you can imagine

will grow there if given a chance.”


Steve Goodier


October 9, 2015 First Camellias 005


Each of our thoughts; wishes, daydreams, choices and opinions; may be considered a seed.  Our thoughts can shape our lives and bring us happiness or heartbreak; loneliness or love.

 Our thoughts have power to change the world around us.

These ‘thought seeds’ germinate in the fertile soil of our imagination, and are watered and fed by our attention.


October 9, 2015 First Camellias 037


On this Earth, all seeds have the opportunity to germinate, whether those seeds will grow into weeds and briers or beautiful flowers and nourishing fruits.

May the seeds you sow ripen into love and happiness in the year to come.

May your garden remain fertile and surround you with beauty and abundance.  May you walk in peace.


December 31, 2016 001


Happy 2016 to you and yours!


November 11, 2015 Parkway 049



Woodland Gnome 2015

New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2014 frost 014

On New Year’s Eve I’m reminded that the new is always born out of all that has gone before.

The ghosts of our past both comfort and haunt us, traveling with us into the newness of each day, each new year.

December 31, 2014 frost 017

Our roots run deep into the soil of our life experiences, and our parents’ and grandparents’ experiences.  Our roots live in the  knowings and acts and loves of all of those who came before, and all those who journey with us now.

We draw the energy and motivation to move forwards from the richness of our past .

December 31, 2014 frost 016

As we reflect on our lives up to this moment, there are moments of sorrow as well as joy.  Disappointments mixed in with our accomplishments.

December 31, 2014 frost 012

There are those loved ones we’ve lost along the way, friends estranged, colleagues left behind.

And of course there are those friends and loved ones with us still, who have been our companions for much of our lives.

Each of these relationships, each of these experiences  has enriched us in countless ways.

They are all our mentors. 

December 31, 2014 frost 008

So let us bless it all.  Let us recollect all of those people who have been our companions along the way.  Because our history also shows us our path forwards.

Whether our memories are bitter or joyful, or mixed; let us bless them, forgive them, appreciate them, and acknowledge what we have learned from each one.

December 31, 2014 frost 023

Let us recollect the many experiences of our lives. Let us accept them, the painful as well as the positive ones, as part of our story.  Each one has played its part in bringing us to this moment, at the cusp of a new year.

Our lives are infinitely enriched with the people and experiences of each passing year.

December 31, 2014 frost 024

Let us move forwards in peace, accepting what has been, and forming a  clear vision of the life we intend to live moving forwards.

It is our inner vision, our power of imagination to create the life we desire, which moves us forward.

December 31, 2014 frost 021

On this New Year’s Eve, skip the resolutions and instead envision the life you intend to live from this moment on.  Determine what you want to hear, and see, smell and feel in your daily life.

Our dreams and intentions are the seeds which create what we desire. 

Planted in the rich soil of our life, nurtured with awareness and intent, our vision will grow into reality.

May you walk in beauty and happiness through all the days to come.

December 31, 2014 frost 002

Woodland Gnome 2014

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

Please visit and follow Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues to see all new posts since January 8, 2021.

A new site allows me to continue posting new content since after more than 1700 posts there is no more room on this site.  -WG

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 782 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on

Topics of Interest