Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Garden Grows the Heart

This spring I've been too distracted, too busy, occasionally too tied up in knots medically, even depressed, to give my garden much attention. Suffice to say that I have been challenged, unhappy, and mostly not having a good time. I haven't been physically sick—this is the first winter in almost twenty years that I have not been stricken with a cold or flu. I got through the entire winter with no illnesses, no walking pneumonia, nothing. That's new since the surgery.

I do love getting my hands in the dirt: it's very healing. But for one reason or another, I haven't had much time for gardening this year so far. That's okay, though, because over the past few years since I bought my house I've been planning and panting a garden that is mostly self-maintaining, mostly perennials, and can tolerate neglect.

The garden is designed so that some flowers are blooming, giving color and light to my home, from early spring through the first frost in autumn: there is always color, always fragrance. When the crocuses fade, the daffodils and tulips begin. At the end of the season, after the lilies have gone, the chrysanthemums reach their peak, sometimes lasting till All Hallows.

This year my crabapple tree was astounding. Just bursting with colors, and full of very happy bees.

In addition to the idea that something should always be in bloom, I planned my garden to inspire me photographically. I make new images every year. Even when I neglect my gardening duties, it mostly takes care of itself, and surprises me. This year the lilies have split again and in a month or so I will surrounded by literally dozens of lilies in several varieties and colors. Come July, the perfume will be overpowering in the evening, just as I desire.

This year the columbines have exploded, bursting out in huge bunches of blue, white and purple.

at sunset the bees
hover fitfully over stars:
blue columbine

The bleeding hearts lasted a full month, due to the initial warm days followed by weeks of cool and wet. The garden looks a little wild and dense this year—more English country garden than Japanese Zen garden—and the little dry sculptures I've made out of rocks gathered throughout my travels are mostly hidden by green growing things.

I admit it. This garden has taken me years to plan and assemble, but I love it. It's the talk of the neighbors, who complement the garden every time we meet on the street by the mailboxes, or just to chat.

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