The Joys of Planting

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The idea of gardening slowly grew on me (see what I did there?). In the early days of motherhood there was simply no time to tend to a bed of flowers and change the diapers of three small children. I was more preoccupied with filling up the sand table than laying fresh soil. And then something happened. I finally had the time. The time appeared for outdoor toiling just as my time for indulging in a good read pre-bed disappeared. Life’s about balances, I suppose.

These past few years have been a learning curve. I’ve researched and spoken with professionals before planting anything into the earth and above all, I’ve discovered the wisdom of seasoned gardeners. I am grateful for my mother-in-law who has a thumb so green that she can make anything grow and the various men and women who’ve stopped to share a seed (see, again?) of knowledge as I’m dismissing the pesky weeds that threaten to overrun.

“Spraying with vinegar is a friendly way to get rid of unwanted weeds.”

“Allow the perennials to fade into the winter. Don’t be hasty and deadhead them quite yet. Leave them for the winter foragers and for nothing else, visual interest.”

“Consider yourself warned, be sure that you’re planting those bulbs the right-side up.”

All well-intended and well-received words of encouragement. I’ve had some disappointments. My hydrangeas never bloomed or sprouted green – perhaps it was the polar vortex or maybe they didn’t like my soil and the blue star juniper while it excelled at collecting litter it failed to bring me much joy. Plus it occupied more than its fair share of real estate.

Plants are a bit like people. Some are hearty and will thrive regardless of their conditions but others are finicky and impose great demands. Some are dependable and serve a purpose – my boxwoods come to mind – and others, like my newly transplanted peonies, are fleeting beauties.

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Gardening has proved to be the ideal hobby for me. It suits my introverted disposition. It has also nurtured my own personal growth. Patience is a requirement, a necessity that can’t be circumvented. Mother Nature dedicates the schedule and I am powerless to her. The slightest change, the tiniest of buds, the browning of leaves and the dropping of petals – all of it is met with attention and mindfulness. There is no greater satisfaction for me than the moment when a bud looks as though it will burst open at any second.

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I glean great pleasure from the beauty of plants. What I used to take for granted, I now meet with wonder and awe. When I walk through my neighbourhood, I appreciate the hours of labor, physical and mental, for creating beautiful landscapes. I admire these efforts and marvel at how even a tiny urban garden can elicit such joy.

Last fall I planted forty tulip bulbs – a variety of blooms and colours – on my mound of ground. I deliberated about placement: rigid rows or effortlessly scattered? Scattered won out and the mere thought that eventually, years from now, the entire patch will be covered with tulips thrills me. A friend once told me that when she was sipping tea on her front porch and admiring the roses an elderly gentleman walked up and told her that his mother had planted those in the 1920s before he was born!

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I’d like to try my hand with roses and eventually a vegetable garden, although I still have to sort out the logistics. I am enamored with the idea of creating a beautiful space for me, for my boys, for the bees . . .

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

 

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