A few days ago I sat in my friend's garden. She is what my mother might have called a "working wonder" regarding what she can do with a garden space. In just a few short years, since they moved to Oregon from the windswept plains of Wyoming, she has created a garden that is simply sumptuous.
No, it is not a vegetable garden, although some of the plants grown for beauty really do look good enough to eat, it is a plant and flower garden - extraordinaire!
There is enough space that you do not feel crowded.
There is enough variety that you are never bored.
There is enough color that you are delighted, but not overwhelmed.
And it is not perfect. That would be somewhat discouraging to an amateur such as myself. She laughingly pointed out the blue spruce that simply will not grow up. It prefers to squat and has developed a goofy looking topknot.
I think what charms me most about her garden is that rather than aim for perfection, she has aimed for joy - and has hit it just right. We talked about her roses, columbines, geraniums, and some of the most gorgeous lupines I have ever seen in my life.
She also planted a couple of low-growing Japanese maples, the kind with the burgundy leaves all year long. They are flourishing and provided such a great contrast to the yellow roses nearby.
We sat in rockers on her back patio and discussed rainfall, heat issues, seeds versus live plantings, and on and on. It would have been incredibly boring to anyone who doesn't love to garden. But we were smiling ear to ear as we compared notes.
Finally I sighed and told my friend that, while I am a solidly Western philosophy kind of person, I could easily "just go all zen" right here in her garden.
As the evening waned and we prepared to go inside, I told her again how much I admired all that she and her husband had created here in their very own little Xanadu. I wistfully expressed my longing for such garden beauty at home.
She graciously mentioned some of the good things we have been able to accomplish where we live, like the potting station and all the new plantings of the past three years, which she saw when they visited us a few months ago. And then she surprised me.
"What I love most about your garden and yard is all the space you have. It is wonderful."
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As I thought about it, I realized that her gardening space is about the size of two good rooms. I have a half-acre to play with. Sometimes that is a burden, as I struggle to fill it up. Maybe I should just take a deep breath and celebrate the space I have in which to play. To work. To grow.
Hummm - maybe life is a lot like that, too. We look at someone else's garden and see only their accomplishments and beautiful surroundings. Meanwhile, we may have forgotten to celebrate our own "space" ? It's a thought. I think I will just wander around my yard enjoying it for a bit when we get home. ... And then I will get to work. Sorry, just cannot help myself. :)
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How is your "garden of life" growing this summer? Hope you are having fun, learning new things, and taking time to smell your own roses. Until next time - your grateful gardener ~ Marsha