The only New Year’s resolution that I have kept this year is to review and learn more Latin using a page-a-day calendar. My Latin word of the week is latebra, which means a hiding place or place of retreat. The word fires my imagination, conjuring up images of secluded mosaic-tiled courtyards smelling of jasmine on a balmy summer night, quiet except for the soothing burbling of a fountain. It also brought back memories of reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden over and over as a child, a book that illustrates the healing and restorative powers of nature.
For many people, myself included, their place of retreat is a garden. I am fortunate enough to have two. The larger is part of a community garden, unfenced and public. The smaller and private one worthy of latebra status is my balcony garden. Here are a few glimpses into the latter:
Shy strawberries and chipper chives…
Unruly Roman chamomile whose seed stowed away in dirt from another pot and is threatening to steal the show from the radishes and lamb’s leaf lettuce…
Lemon-scented winter savory from Slovenia whose vitality continues to astound me, arugula getting ready to bolt, and the most aromatic lemon balm I have ever tasted.