by Sr. Regina Siegfried, ASC

I love elephant ears, those waving, Victorian-age showoffs. The bulbs trumpet the necessity of ritual planting, cutting, and digging up for winter storage.  After I cut back the big leaves in the fall, I have a private funeral procession to the yard waste dumpster.

Those elephant ears, while certainly plants, seem more than plants.  They seem to want to reach into the animal realm. They deserve a little ceremony as they move to the recycling phase of their lives. To ensure new life for next spring, the bulbs need to be dug up and stored in a dry, dark, safe basement space.

It always amazes me that those gnarled, dried, and wizened bulbs, replanted, watered, and watched, shoot out slowly unfurling leaves. What goes on below ground, in the dark and rich soil?

Then, there are worms that creep below the soil’s surface, as mysterious as the elephant ear bulbs. Those crawling critters stir below ground to enrich life on the top story. All of us together — plants, humans, worms — work together to deepen the fertility of a small urban backyard garden.

What’s in your inner garden; what’s working below to reap a harvest above?

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