The Growing Older, Living Younger Project

A Garden and a Library

Jun 27, 2021 | Living Younger by Changing Aging, Mind and Brain, Wellness

A week ago, I found myself struggling with unusual (for me) behaviours.I was restless, couldn’t concentrate, procrastinating a lot and less able to suppress my impatience and irritation. I looked for insights in old texts.

‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need’ according to Roman statesman, philosopher and  orator, Marcus Cicero. Perhaps he should have added ‘no enemies’ to lop off your head, since he was assassinated on the orders of the triumvirate of Mark Antony, Octavian and Marcus Lepidus.  

I was idly searching my online library, procrastinating by looking for what exactly Cicero said that led to his head being removed (according to Shakespeare’s version in ‘Julius Caesar‘) when I came across yet another example of an everyday phrase that originated in a Shakespeare text; ‘it was Greek to me’.  I was just about to head down the rabbit hole of ‘the many commonplace phrases that Shakespeare said first’ when I remembered why I was on the internet in the first place. 

I had a library. I needed a garden. And I was online consulting dr. google about gardening. In this case, how to care  for my new African Violet collection. For years I had a collection of African Violets which thrived despite the fact that I have the opposite of a green thumb.  

When I moved out of my house, I enthusiastically set up a small container garden of flowers and herbs on my patio. But they fared poorly when I was off on my dance cruises.  The final straw came with the pair of pooping pigeons who for two years in a row, nested in one of the containers. (See Pigeons are again trying to check in to Hotel Jill

So I gave up patio gardening. I’m  not sure what inspired me now but a few weeks ago I decided I need to find some new African Violets. And that led to trying patio gardening again.I cleaned the old soil out of the containers. My daughter brought me fresh potting soil and a few plants, and now I have a mass of greenery on my patio. 

In my living room, I now have my starter African Violet collection, mainly the common purple and blue colours. I’m keeping my eyes out for sources of the less common colors. Anyone else collect African Violets? 

The greenery worked its calming effect. Or maybe it’s that I am back dancing again. But my temporary blues have passed and I am busy as ever. With the additional task of vegetables and violets to care for!


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