"There is a certain rhythm to rearing children and growing a garden. They both require patience. And watching. And love." -- Molly Chappelett
This beautiful quotation speaks to my heart, especially in the spring as my garden wakes from its slumber. I garden as I mothered -- sowing the seeds and gently tending, with no strict requirements --allowing both my children and my plants to become what they were destined to be.
I have never been drawn to neat little beds of flowers. I love a profusion of flowers. My lily-of-the-valley migrate to the stone walk nearby; my thyme and oregano cascade over the little stone wall in my front yard. My garden evolves -- as the canopy of leaves on my maple tree has shaded more and more of one garden, the showier flowers have given way to quieter plants with tinier flowers. The birds and the winds carry new surprises to the gardens. Where phlox once thrived in one garden, it is being replaced with black raspberry bushes which I never planted.
There are disappointments in the garden, as well. Of the twelve climbing rose bushes I planted with loving care six years ago along the fence, only three or four remain -- and they look none too healthy at this point. How sad for me -- a lover of roses! This year I will try some other less fussy plants by the fence. Along the driveway, in a patch of direct sunlight, a mix of phlox, coneflowers and a lovely yellow flower thrive. Three years ago I bought one of the yellow flowers at a Garden Club sale -- the little old man who sold it to me didn't know its name, but said it grew very tall -- he was right. Not only did it grow tall, it has also reseeded itself abundantly to provide a lush contrast to the pinks and purples growing alongside it.
How imperfect my garden is -- always changing, always growing outside its boundaries, fighting for space with a weed that haunts our neighborhood and makes my weeding chores difficult. How much patience is required as I wait each year to see if the wisteria will finally bloom. How frustrating when the deer eat the tulips as their leaves come out of the ground and the woodchuck devours the phlox out back before it has had time to blossom.
But, how beautiful it is was this morning to walk out into the yard and find a carpet of blue and white forget-me-nots. Of course, this means the lawn will not be mowed anytime soon -- who can possibly mow down a carpet of flowers. And so, my untidy, lush gardens thrive -- trees, berries, herbs and flowers -- raised with patience and watching and, most of all, love.