"A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself."
–May Sarton (2014). 'At Seventy: A Journal'
You learn a lot of things when you garden.
And I'm not just talking about soil composition, color balance, last-average-freeze-dates, pruning skills, or how to properly mulch a tree. That's all vital information for a gardener, but I'm actually talking about . . .
Secrets of the Universe.
What Makes the World Go Around.
That kind of stuff.
Case in point.
See that gorgeous, flowering redbud there in my front yard? It makes my heart leap a little bit everytime I see it out my front window . . . or whenever I walk the dogs up the hill in front of my house these days. I love it so!
And you know what?
I didn't plant it.
Neither did Tom.
It's a garden "volunteer!" It just . . . showed up one year. I was weeding out in that particular bed (which I refer to as the "Deer Salad Bar" because they eat whatever I plant there) (except for the hellebores) (because as far as I can tell, that's the only plant in my garden deer WON'T touch), and I noticed a little tree sprouting up. The leaves gave me pause . . . because they were heart-shaped . . . and I wondered if it might be a red bud that somehow ended up among my Austrian pines. I decided to just . . . let it be. And find out.
(Note: I get a LOT of "volunteers" growing in my garden. Many of them - the dreaded buckthorn, for example, or the English ivy my neighbor planted as ground cover, etc. - I dig out as soon as I find them. Others? I've learned to just . . . see how things go. It's easier that way.)
Anyway. Now, several years later, I have this rather glorious redbud in my front yard!
It gives me great delight every spring.
And it makes me think (a lot) about the very essence . . . of gardening.
I mean, gardening . . . is really trying to tame a bit of nature for yourself. To make your little plot of land . . . do something it might not want to do, given its own rhythm and the whole "nature" thing. It takes a lot of work to keep formal, tidy gardens looking formal and tidy! I always tip my hat to those gardeners who manage to keep everything looking tip-top because . . . it ain't easy! Shoot . . . if you do what "good gardeners" do and create the soil conditions to grow whatever it is you want to grow (vegetables, flowers, shrubs, whatever), well . . . you're also going to invite the things you don't want to grow (weeds, volunteers, insidious ground cover). Because (nearly) every plant is looking for great soil and plenty of water, y'know? Nature finds ways to keep doing what it wants to be doing. And it wants to put down roots. To grow. To keep on keeping on!
Back to my rogue redbud.
(It really is a stunner, isn't it?)
This redbud is giving me more than just beautiful blooms right now. It's also reminding me that . . .
- You really can bloom where you are planted.
- Sometimes the right answer is to just . . . let it be.
- It's okay to be curious and see what happens.
- Nature will do what nature does, and often, it disrupts.
- Life is easier when we can allow ourselves to go with the flow.
Gardening is so much more than pretty flowers, y'know?
"The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway."
– Michael Pollan (2007) ‘Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education’
Enjoy the weekend!
I hope you find some beautiful, blue sky blooms in your corner of the world.