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.
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.
This article was published originally in 2021, in GreenPrints Issue #125.