Oh, and we time travel all too much on the patio. If the garden is a spaceship, the patio is the bridge. We had to get an outdoor clock, because time simply does not exist here. There are no helmsmen or science officers to warn us of impending collision. We wallow happily in endless empty space as we enjoy our morning coffee or our dinner, lunch, or aperitif. We forget everything. We discuss each plant or flower or group of perennials like mom and dad reveling in baby’s first step. We name each garden like the proud parents we are.

All the different beds in the backyard are visible from the patio except for one hidden nook on the north side of the house inaptly named the Zen Garden. There is a literal constant buzz of activity among the native milkweeds and agastache in the Butterfly Garden. Changes in color, texture, and form happen suddenly and gradually in the huge Pink Garden. Fragrances and earthly delights beckon from the Vegetable Garden. Little worlds emerge and decline in the Forgotten Garden. Something different is happening in every direction because the patio is enclosed by garden beds. Once the coffee is poured or the wine is opened, it is almost impossible to tear yourself away from this sensual, spiritual feast.

Athletes know this sense of rightness and timelessness when they are at peak performance. Artists, dancers, actors know it too. I bet mathematicians know it, but I’ve never had the chance to ask one. I’m sure you know it, because all humans are conductors of energy and able to know bliss. Years of disciplined practice lie behind the most seemingly effortless acts of genius, just like the garden’s ephemeral charms are built from lower back pain and sweat. The environment I have created in our garden is intended to be a portal to that perfect moment. Simply looking out the window becomes a shortcut to bliss.

Gardening is about relationship. Time is the enemy.