I feel the earth move

My relationship to the earth is changing. When post-knee surgery instructions included “no kneeling” and “no squatting,” I suspected my gardening days were behind me. But once my son Christopher — raised on nature walks and front yard veggie gardening — reminded me about an upcoming native plant sale, I resolved to get a bit back into the swing of things.

He’s lobbied me for years about making the transition to gardening with native plant species, puzzled by my attempts to explain the meaning behind other sorts of plants I’ve embraced through the years. Most remind me of places lived before moving to the desert — all located near forests where I feel most at home.

But water is scarce, and so too is time. Using native species makes practical sense — and I can only hope some measure of true inspiration for desert gardening will worm its way into my heart. Cactus never really cut it for me. This feels like the first time I’ve noticed that the darn things actually blossom for a spell.

I took a trusty rake to my long overgrown garden yesterday in a botantical spin on “out with the old and in with the new.” It broke off near the tines, apparently angry over all those seasons of neglect. But the little stub that remained was enough to get the job done. I’ve got a clean slate, a fresh palette. And the will to feel the earth move.

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This morning we strolled through the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park. And I’ll be hitting the plant sale at the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College later this week (Thurs and Fri 9am-1pm in Toad Hall, and open to the public). It’s a fitting way to celebrate Earth Day, which plenty of other folks will be doing this month at various Valley venues — from the Desert Botanical Garden to Phoenix Zoo.

Folks who favor the feel of playing in the dirt while keeping their own hands clean are eager to witness the unfolding of a new Desert Botanical Garden/Ballet Arizona collaboration called “Topia” — which’ll blossom beyond the traditional stage during its May 2-26 run at the garden. Choreographer Ib Andersen (artistic director for Ballet Arizona) is both dancer and visual artist, so I’m eager to experience his marriage of nature with movement.

Those who like their celebrations on the cooler side can head to Valley theaters for the Earth Day premiere of Disneynature’s “Chimpanzee.” Also Arizona libraries, colleges and museums offering special Earth Day fare. I’d love to list them all for you here, but I’ve spent far too much time at my laptop of late. It’s time I feel the earth move.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to find Earth Day celebrations and other family-friendly events featured in the Raising Arizona Kids magazine calendar (and to learn how you can submit calendar items to the magazine).

Coming up: Human rights and human rites

Photos: Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park

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