This winter and spring I’ve definitely been a 10-minute-now-and-again gardener. When I came back most recently, my old gardener self cast a critical eye and lamented, yeow – how do I cope with this?
The next morning I headed into town, and stopped to chat with our beloved house sitter. She spoke of her garden in terms of what she likes in my garden – the wattle fence around the bride’s garden, the water dishes for the birds, the plants uneaten by deer (or eaten low down and blossoming above like ribes and elderberry).
I came home feeling better, shoving the critic aside.
Later, while working at my desk I heard eagles overhead and stepped outside on the tiny upstairs balcony – prepared to shiver, then realized I was warm – the sun strong. A crow landed on the bird dish it uses for soaking body parts and white bread. It flew off and disappeared behind the Buffalo – a nest over there?
I could hardly see Frances in the garden below. She’d forsaken her warm spots in the sun – bench and pavers – and nestled in the long grass next to the big stones. That grass needs trimming, but is perfect for her purposes.
In spite of over-enthusiastic groundcovers (more than one serious gardener has looked askance at this garden), the foursquare garden retains its shape. Columnar apples in flower succeed the gone-by cherry blossoms. The plum lacks much bloom, it disliked April’s torrential rains, but the wet pleased the perennials – tralictrum and lilies stand tall. Tulips in containers are without petals, but dianthus, sedum, and the stalwart little rose rise to take over. By the last of the daffodils, the blues of rosemary and forget-me-not cheer, and without the critic on my shoulder, the garden pleases me.
What’s important to me now – and a privilege – is to have a garden – some surfaces not occupied by man made material – some green, some trees, some irregularity of foliage. And above all – a place to sit.
This is not an original or new thought – my friend who paints in the woods sent me a little broadside from a book exhibition with a quote by Cicero who lived 2,000 years ago: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
Maybe I’ve reached a garden plateau that suits me – grateful for past work but less demanding, more accepting of what’s here. I’m sure I will buy annuals for pots, and encourage a weekend of weed whacking the grass into control, but also take a book outside – and have everything I need!
Maybe it should be “a garden, a library, and a paintbrush”. These are such lovely little spring twigs.
“… I heard eagles overhead . . .” What a lovely phrase! And I love the Cicero quote.