Blasting You With Poetry: Week 5
The Merry Month of May

Gardening. So Much More Than Pretty Flowers.

"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.






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That redbud is a real gardening and life lesson teacher! My next door neighbor in NJ (two neighbors ago) told me when they moved that he had planted a gift for me to enjoy every spring and think of him. It was a spindly little stick planted right on the property line between our houses and it turned out to be a lovely redbud. And he was right, I do enjoy it every spring and think of him. He was a staunch Republican who watched Fox News and we disagreed about anything political, but we had lots of respectful conversations over an evening beer and my redbud has been one of the nicest gifts I've received. I think redbuds might be magical!


What a beautiful, magical tree. This year, around here, the redbuds seem to be much "thicker" if you know what I mean. More flowers clustered together. I noticed that in Valley Forge Park and along other roads I travel. Also lilacs and wisteria are more strongly scented this year! All magic and all fun! (P.S. Love May Sarton's journals - thanks for that quote.)


That's so beautiful, Kym!!


I think it is amazing that your volunteer planted in just so perfect a spot. It is beautiful.

I always think of the phrase ---- a weed is just a misplaced flower. Sometimes that is so, so true.


Everything about this went straight to the heart today. Having just come out from under the headache of my second COVID shot, this is my first glimpse into the world. And what a great first glimpse! Keeping this with me: "Sometimes the right answer is to just . . . let it be." Happy week-ending to you, Kym,


Color really is so magical! Enjoy the weekend and your beautiful tree this weekend Kym! xo


Great post, Kym! And love the “volunteer” designation.


Oh, the lessons of the redbud are deep and meaningful. My volunteers are usually terribly invasive things but you, you lucky duck, get a redbud! hahahaha!


The redbuds are my favorite to see at this time of year. There was one tree I used to pass on my walk to work every day, and I'd always eagerly await that day when the blooms would open and it was a peak gorgeousness. I've since noticed a lot more of them around the neighborhood (and have learned that there was an effort locally to plant a bunch of them relatively recently), but sadly none has volunteered to grow in our yard. Our bleeding heart seems to have given birth to a baby plant, though, so I might try to transplant it!


I love this! A volunteer tree! :) On our drive to Erie we pass an area where there is a big rocky craggy area that has dozens of little redbuds covering them. I did not know they seeded themselves... but boy... they are just so gorgeous in the spring! Thank you for sharing!

Mary Rogovin

What lovely thoughts, Kym, and how fantastic to have a redbud in your front yard! The leaves as purple hearts are my favorite. Thankfully, my neighbor has one in her front yard that I can see from my chair by the window. Not quite as good as having one in my yard, but at least I can enjoy the view!

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