My Inner Garden


I feel softened on the inside,

seeking comforting beauty.

I deserve to pause and remember

I am worthy of flowers.


In the nursery

gazing at all the varieties,

I listen as the flowers

speak to me of memories.


Flowers help me

nurture life lessons

releasing the pain and

infusing beauty and love.


Colors and shapes hold stories

of my mother in her herb garden

and family gardens, changing seasons

and goodbyes


My mom is blossoming

as a red geranium

and my children are nestled

in a pot full of hens and chickens


And my childhood home is

tucked inside a pot of poppies

alongside the color of

petunias that represent joy


I am nestled in each flower

thriving with the attention

and I bloom with abandon

trusting I have found my home.


She Became a Garden


by Carolyn Riker


Just before the sun would boil over the horizon she’d water each flower


with a porcelain jug

hand-painted with petite pink rosebuds


she spoke alyssum with an accent of wild geranium rosemary stems were her fingers


her eyes were lavender-blue and each footstep was soft as moss


creatures visited without fear they seemed to know it was fine to dine


on a bouquet of spent rose petals sipping from shallow dishes of water sprinkled here and there


she became the seasons wearing clothes that blended with the flora and fauna


her hair sunny by spring and summer and by autumn and winter there was a distinct color of silence


it was as if she was born to be a garden with all the flavors and accents


bold and bright dark and dim shadow and light


each moment of transformation weeded away the masks and complimented her spirit


as if by chance but not really she belonged there


she became a garden where she was finally accepted and seen


Participants' Reflections:

  • I am rather overwhelmed. Before we started, I was watering our gardens. On my morning walk were four different colors of roses. That poem overwhelmed me. I had a vision of a painting of it with Lavender Blue playing in the background.

  • I loved the bouquet you gave of us of what the flowers around you meant to you. There is a book from the Victorian era about the Meaning of Flowers. But you were talking about the meaning of your flowers. It was so much more personal and lovely. Thank you.

  • Talk about serendipity, I walked out to our backyard and saw a poppy growing in the garden. We’ve been trying to grow poppies for four years now. And there it was today.

  • I love flowers. My mom has had so many falls over the years and has been in rehab many times. I would always bring her flowers because I think they are beautiful to look at. She told me to stop bringing her flowers, that she would prefer my spending time with her. I couldn’t do that. She’s right. It was a way to abdicate my role but to give her something. She’s in the hospital right now in her 90s and needs surgery. During the meditation, I was thinking about this. They don’t see her bouncing back from this. I’m struggling with how do I come to this event differently with an open heart and not a feeling of victimization. What can I bring her instead of flowers and how can I take care of myself so that I can bring her what I have to offer?

  • I see you giving yourself a bouquet of flowers and really feeling what that means to you, of honoring and nurturing yourself so that when you bring yourself to her, you have the flowers in your heart instead of the pain.

  • Thank you so much. I loved the reading. I don’t normally see flowers, but a friend brought me flowers and I am smelling their fragrance in the house. I loved the line “I bloom with abandon trusting I have found my home.’ Blooming with abandon is something I’m thinking about. This idea of a person being a garden and integrating is an image I’d like to think about.

  • Thank you. I too love flowers. I received two African violets a couple of years ago from friends. I’m not good at taking care of plants inside the house. I water them when they are crying out for water and I talk to them and apologize. I appreciate what you read. I have an area outside my window where I can plant flowers and where rabbits enjoy eating them. I saw some weeds somewhere and I transplanted some of them. It turned out I had transplanted Queen Anne’s Lace. I laughed because I had dug up what were flowers and transplanted them. But they are beautiful and tall. It’s different and weird but so am I.

  • It’s a matter of opinion as to what is a weed. I grew up with the flower fairy books. They are beautiful. I always felt there is something more to a flower. My yard is all gardens and flowers. I went to a gathering a few years ago about plant spirits and we had a guided meditation which I usually don’t see or hear anything. It was on my mind what would happen to all my plants when I move. And just as I was coming out of the meditation, I heard this voice say “we’ll come with you.”

  • Thank you. I do love fairies and flowers. The reading was so rich. My husband was a gardener and for every birthday or anniversary, he would give me subway flowers. He would pick them up on his way home from work. I never said anything about it but I grew to not like the subway flowers and I never told him that. I felt guilty that I wasn’t sharing how I felt and that I should appreciate his thinking of me. It’s been a process of forgiving myself for not being honest. And now, when I pick a flower from my garden, I think of him. It’s like I need a ritual to cleanse from that journey I was on. It taught me a lot about honesty. It’s a good lesson for me to remember.

  • I grew Queen Anne’s Lace in my garden. It was in the soil. It’s a lovely plant representing delicacy and strength. And the fragrance if you rub your fingers on the stem or leaves, something unique about it and strong.

  • Dandelions pop up all over a lawn and we try to get rid of them. There are poems about dandelions. A friend wrote one that talked about the thing that people try to get rid of has its own beauty. I saw a picture of a dandelion embedded in glass. It was so beautiful. It says nature is there for us and we need to remember that each piece and part of it has its own beauty, as each of us do. We are nature.

  • Thank you for sharing. It’s a journey. Flowers have their journey; we have our journey. There’s healing in both. If I allow myself to feel the presence of my mother in a red geranium, it helps me own and process any pain I’ve held from my past. I am appreciative of it. Flowers are gifts to us to help us heal. I hope you all have a gentle day. Flowers are strong and gentle. It’s a nice reminder of what our aim is with our hearts.


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