I like to read magazines with my breakfast coffee; it is my way to ease into the day. Today I was into Martha Stewart Living, looking over her calendar for February, living vicariously through to-dos like “pick oranges from greenhouse and make juice; freeze for future use,” and “attend Orchid Society Gala.” Far cry from anything I have going on in lil’ ol’ South Jersey. Then I read, “Clean out dryer lint duct.” Now this is something I would do, but I’m having a hard time seeing Maven Martha similarly engaged. I wonder if she was trying to get me to laugh in which case, she was successful. I do have to give Martha a lot of credit: one, she has always worked very, very hard and two, for her role in the renaissance of domestic arts, elevating them to a place of honor, even if the majority of us are not attending the Orchid Society Gala. I also wonder if she didn’t enjoy her “time off” a few years ago, although I am certain she didn’t keep the same company as the gals in “Orange is the New Black.” Writing this, I’m considering the parallel stories of Martha and lead character, Piper. Hmmm.

Academy Award nominations are in and every year I wonder why I don’t see more movies, because I like movies. Winter is a great time to catch up, especially if there is a snow storm heading in. I am reminded of something my garden friend, Bob said: “Every spring I wonder what I was doing in Autumn that was so important that I didn’t plant more daffodils.” The honest answer for me is, probably nothing.  This begs the question, what are we doing with our precious minutes? How “awake” are we? Sometimes I drive down the road and miles could by without my remembering any of it. Where am I? What is so important that I am unaware of these minutes?  The first movie I’d like to suggest is Awakenings with Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. This movie has been around for awhile– 1990 and is based on the memoirs of Oliver Sacks, a neurologist who died last August. DeNiro’s character, Leonard, says something to this effect when he comes briefly out of his catatonic state–that we should enjoy life, play, be with people, experience simple pleasures. I thought it a beautiful and thoughtful movie and while not garden inspired per se, one of the things Leonard wanted to do most in the brief time he was awake was to be outdoors, to go for a walk. I agree with his concept of freedom.

Next is Labyrinth, starring David Bowie as Jared, the Goblin King, the Jim Henson muppets and the incredibly lovely 16 year-old Jennifer Connelly. Even if you don’t have a youngster with whom you can watch this movie, you can still appreciate the music, the muppets, the humor, and of course the story. One of my favorite parts of movie is that many of the stone and rocks are not only alive but highly animated. I always talk about this to my clients and I don’t think they believe me (and they usually raise their eyebrows): stone IS alive in my mind because it was made from ages and ages of history and within it are the stories. Another favorite part of the movie are the mis-haps that land the characters into the “Bog of Eternal Stench,” where the landscape is viewed quite differently by the guard, tiny but brave Sir Didymus. I cannot do justice to this by writing about it; you will just have to watch the movie. I hope you will find it highly entertaining and a way to celebrate the magic and artistry of Bowie and Henson.

Finally, a true movie about a garden called Greenfingers. The movie is set in a men’s prison where the inmates set out to become gardeners. Stars Helen Mirren.  I found the movie charming, and I do think that gardens and gardening are excellent therapy. According to Huffington Post, prison gardens are on the rise providing food for communities and valuable experience for the inmates in that their efforts are yielding positive results in addition to horticultural training. According to the HP article, the return to prison rate is less than 10% for the inmate gardeners.

I wonder what the prison garden would have looked like if Martha had been in charge? I’ll bet she would have said, “It’s a good thing.”

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Garden Predictions 2016