It is not all beauty and light, you know. I have had friends say they wanted to see the garden, and it got me thinking. My initial response is always..” Oh, what my garden used to be…” remembering times when it held first priority in the thrill of making a garden and having a life that centered only around my own hearth. That was in the years before I became one of those “Sandwich” people, sandwiched between the generations of small children and elderly parents. Now my father is gone and my children are pretty much grown. The garden was neglected during those years, sometimes in despair (like when I mowed over an entire border- too far gone to restore).
Now, in memory of that earlier garden that drew such praise from others and satisfaction for myself, I am renovating. But the garden, like I have, has aged, and will never return to what it was… it must become something different. Something in tune with its present spirit and reality. And then I am torn between the sadness of laying one dream down, and the anticipation of taking up another different and new dream. One that will carry me on into the foreseeable future.
My garden must follow the path of mortality that I am also following, and I no longer try to defy it. No longer will I try to make the neutral soils acid, for blue blooms or exotic azaleas, no more will I carve high maintenance borders from the grass to mimic the gardens of England, or plant hybrid roses needing a softer clime or Chinese Chestnuts which have no hope of a full lifetime here. Now, I plant my borders with shrubs and groundcover, tough rugosa roses, and trees that weather every vicissitude of our winters.
Some sadness I must weather, like my garden. There is nothing I have been able to do in the face of the Japanese beetle invasion, my green ash trees await the entry of the emerald borer- found just miles from my place. Periodic droughts have whittled down my plantlists of survivors, and my own waning strength must let my pathway be dictated more by nature than by will.
The garden is the place of reality, and of truth…. it tells me lessons I do not always want to hear, but it tells me with alternate comforts and possibilities. I am glad for that mercy. Because ultimately my garden is a place where I am reminded of mercy and hope, and I look forward, always forward, with my sight set upon the new season…different and unknown, but with certain sure promises that beauty awaits in sometimes unexpected places and quantities. There is sadness, but never without the seed germ of hope within.
Tags: the real garden, musings