Sunday, 24 June 2007

Lessons from the Garden

After a stressful couple of days, I spent some time fiddling in my perennial garden this morning. I needed to clear my head and heart. Getting some dirt under my fingernails always proves to be a therapeutic and rejuvenating experience for me. During our first spring at “Seaside Farms II”, I was chomping at the bit to plant my long awaited dream garden. I had clear visions of a beautiful palette of my favorite blooms and anticipated the positive aesthetic appeal this garden would provide to our landscape. At the time, I wasn’t enlightened to the other benefits gardening can bring to a person’s life.

A perennial garden keeps on giving of itself. I tried to explain this to my husband after my first trip home from the garden centre. The cost of these plants was clearly an investment! What’s interesting is that my favorite plants are undeniably the ones that have been passed along by friends. These plants joined my garden as a few tiny seedlings “weeded” out by someone else, or a clump of roots handed to me in a plastic grocery “gift” bag. With very little effort on my part, they have transformed into mature, lush plants. We have some neighbour friends that have been gardening in our seaside community for many years. The plants we’ve received from them are most always a guaranteed success as they have stood the test of our harsh coastal weather. My mother has a friend who had been an avid gardener for years. When her perennials became too much for her to maintain, she passed along many of them to Mom. Mom in turn handed some over to my sister and I. What a treat to see this dear lady’s gorgeous mauve irises gracing my garden this spring. I will take a photo and send it along to her. No doubt she will be pleased to know her plants are still bringing joy to others.

When planning my garden, I chose many flowers that had nostalgic value to me. Brown-Eyed-Susans were always a favorite of my grandmother's. Nanny’s middle name was Susan so perhaps this is why they held a special place in her heart. Forget-me-nots bring back memories of my childhood. At a very young age I marveled at their delicate beauty and unique shade of indigo blue. The scent of lilac blooms in late June reminds me of that exhilarating feeling of school being out for the summer. I’ve been told that my great-grandmother tended the most beautiful patch of sweet peas. Even though I was never lucky enough to meet her, I grow these each year in her honor.

I hope to pass along the joys of gardening to my children. Chi-Chi (as my 2 year-old likes to refer to himself) has his own little lettuce patch he has been faithfully tending. He enjoys watering my garden with his miniature watering can. Often he ends up watering himself more than the plants! Hopefully my garden path will serve as an informal classroom to my boys. What a wonderful setting for Chi-Chi and Muffy (my 9 month old) to explore and discover the beauty of nature!