Monday, August 10, 2015

Gardens make me happy

I like a garden that blends together with plants leaning close like friends sharing secrets showering the ground with their soft petal whispers.


I like a garden where leaves, branches, flowers and fragrances mix and mesh into a single mass of bucolic bliss. I appreciate the confluence of different sizes, textures, shapes and colors. Incongruous though it seems, harmony can evolve from dissonant species.

Plants in all shapes, sizes, colors and scents just outside our porch door

I like a garden full of surprises. Unexpected statues peek through leaves. Shells and stones trigger memories. Plaques bearing meaningful words sit on tables while wind chimes and mobiles sway in the breeze.

Statues and plant stands and an old teapot turned flowerpot

I like a garden where whimsical wonder is more important than perfection, where weeds exist but haven’t taken control.

A pair of old boots find new life in the garden

I like a garden with places to rest. Chairs and benches, stools and tables provide cozy spots to observe and reflect.

A place to rest in the bamboo grove

I like a garden abuzz with action. Birds and bees fly about. Butterflies flutter. Snakes slither through foliage. Anoles posture from their plant stand posts. From the tiniest insect to broad spider webs, something is always going on in a garden.

Gray hairstreak butterfly on basil flowers

I like a garden alive with activity yet peaceful and calm, a floral sanctuary. I like a garden that’s a world apart. 

Hummingbird sipping nectar from firespike blossoms

My gardens – and I have many (too many to take care of my husband might say) – are all works in progress. This morning as I stood looking out the bedroom window, I realized how similar my garden style is to the way I live the non-horticultural parts of my life.

Like my diverse range of plants, I have many interests. I could never be a person devoted to one passion anymore than I could plant a garden of a single color. I knew a person a long time ago who had many different plants but all of one hue. It was an all-white garden. Hers was lovely, but it could never be mine. My garden, like my life, is rich in variety.

Although an all white garden is pretty, I'd always be tempted to add a splash of other colors to the mix

Like scattered seeds that grow tall and broad, my thoughts tend to ramble and pop up unexpectedly. Yet, with a little attention – a sprinkling of focus - they come together in harmonious union.

If my garden has weeds, so does my house. My home is tidy but far from squeaky clean. Just as I can tolerate a few weeds in the garden, I don’t mind some smudges on windows or a bit of crunch underfoot. When things get too bad, I settle in for an intense session. Be it vacuuming, window washing or pulling out stubborn weeds, there’s satisfaction gleaned from getting work done.

My husband’s gardens are different than mine. His are utilitarian with edible crops filling containers on waist-high tables for easy access. He plants his rows straight and focuses on production. He tends his no-nonsense garden with dogged determination. He doesn’t need benches or whimsical doodads. His priorities center on achieving healthy specimens.

My husband's gardens have straight lines of container plants placed at a uniform height.  It's practical and productive and designed much differently than my more fanciful flowerbeds.  

Different though they are, we both love our gardens. More importantly, we appreciate each other’s approach to gardening and life. It doesn’t matter whether a garden has straight rows or curved beds, vegetables or flowers. It doesn’t matter if it is well tended or wild. What does matter is that the work we do yields a satisfying harvest, a crop of contentment, a bouquet of pleasure.


  1. Being more of a 'jungle gardener' but yes, appreciating all gardens. And I love those purple chairs in the bamboo!

    1. Being a 'jungle gardener' sounds great to me. Have you had a chance to pick any scuppernongs yet? I think you mentioned in a previous comment that you were going to be back in Florida around scuppernong season. I just picked a batch yesterday that should hold me over for another week. Love the seasonal goodies!