Inseparable

My garden and I are joined at the hip—and stem.

decorative border
ILLUSTRATIONS BY LINDA COOK DEVONA

In progress for 20 years, my garden is a place I never tire of. Knowing that it stays on course growing steadily, regardless of life‘s events, supplies me with a sense of composure. When I concentrate my attention on the garden, I’m granted the parallel reward of ignoring everything else. I am unconcerned about time and practical matters. In the garden, I am present and in the moment. Each Spring, I am honored by the garden’s persistence, always working even when no one is looking. In return, it’s only fair that I give it my all. A garden and gardener adopt a shared work ethic knowing what one puts in, the other gets back. It’s not regarded as a burden; there’s no sense of obligation. It’s a relationship without negotiations, as natural as breathing in the air. It occurs because gardeners know it is a privilege to serve their gardens.

When tending to the garden, I often find myself asking how much is enough? When am I done?
Recently I was gloved up and removing post-bloom, slimy leaves from a section of Spanish bluebells. An aggressive perennial, they can become too much of a good thing. In this case, they trapped developing ferns struggling to push through the matted muck.

Gardeners know that it is a privilege to serve their gardens.

After a couple of hours, I sensed it was time to head inside to round up the trash for the morning pickup. I yanked one more handful of plant material and tossed it into the two-ply bag. I stepped back with the intention of going inside, but then my eyes locked on a section of undetected bluebells behind the birdbath—and I set back to work. Hunched over, I heard the screech of the garbage truck down the street. Moving quickly, I grabbed and tugged two more fistfuls from the ground. Spotting another clump behind low branches, I ducked to rip out more wilting plants.

Oh, no! The truck!

I dashed to the house, darting in and out of rooms emptying trash baskets. Racing out the front door, I heard the truck hiss and drive past my curb. It was the second time in a row I had let this happen. A little quick huff escaped through my lips.

And I went back to my garden.

One Saturday I tried keeping track of how many visits I made to the garden in one day. My count included intentionally pulling up a window shade to gaze at the garden, leaning against the glass sliding door staring at it in a trance, and actually going out and entering the garden.

I lost count after 11.

Evidently, there is no such thing as enough when it comes to my garden. We are teamed up. Partners.

Inseparable.


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