The Rites of Spring

The Rites of Spring

From fallow to fertile, tis the season to decide how the garden of your life will grow.  Time to plan and plant.



Set intentions and embrace, celebrate and honor the sun as the days grow longer.  To feel the earth, to dig in, get dirty and ride the emotional waves of growth, abundance and loss, for not every seed planted will sprout, but oh the joy for the ones that do!  How will you create your space?  How do you prepare and care for what you desire?  This is truly vernal.


You can let the symbolic showers of April, bring your May flowers – or hop over to Emily Thompson Flowers at The Guild and get your fix now!  Better yet, sign up for the Emily Thompson Flowers workshop on April 21st!  Show off your exquisite nature arrangements in voluptuous Fumihiro Tamura Vase or display your fertile bulbs in a Black Flower Plate by Yasushi Kuno.  By the way, we say symbolic April showers, because, the phrase is very English and traced back across the pond to 1476 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” prologue:


When in April the sweet showers fall
That pierce March’s drought to the root and all
And bathed every vein in liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has with his sweet breath,
Filled again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and leaves, and the young sun
His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye



It would be remiss to speak of gardens and flowers without mentioning renown master gardener, Alan Chadwick.  His theatrical background as a Shakespearean actor lent itself to the storytelling of his gardening technique, not unlike our founders Robin Standefer & Stephen Alesch with their film background, Chadwick was no stranger to 14 hours of digging 7 days a week to get a garden started.  One of Chadwick’s contemporaries, Norman O. Brown, wrote, “Labor is fertility.”  (He and Hannah Arendt probably would have been friends.) 

And what symbolizes fertility?  Eggs and rabbits!  Get into the spirit with one of Marie Rose’s glorious renditions of Oeuf À La Coque at La Mercerie Café served in a Marumitsu Barnes Cocotte Egg Dish, no less! 

You have to dig, in order to dig it!  As the air and soil warm up, April is a good time to plant tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, beans, beets, herbs, lettuce, melon, onions, peas and peppers whether you’re growing in your urban or rural garden, you can always get dirty with us. 

 - by Nicole Nelch

Spring reading list:

  • Reverence, Obedience and the Invisible in the Garden: Talks on the Biodynamic 
  • French Intensive System & Performance in the Garden by Alan Chadwick
  • There Is a Garden in the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic
  • Movement in California by Paul A. Lee
  • The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
  • Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry by Thomas Tusser
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
  • Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis by Norman O. Brown
  • Ikebana: The Art of Arranging Flowers by Shozo Sato

    We hope to see you soon at the Guild, please share your stories with us!

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