Brand new to gardening, it had never occured to me to garden in anything other than shorts and a t-shirt. I didn't own a beauitful pink dress, hated to iron, and didn't grow lavender. I admired her ability to stay so clean and to grow something so well while doing it. She and her husband moved, another took their place, and I wondered how the new neighbors would care for the tiny garden they had inherited. They ignored it and it continued to bloom. The idea that there as many types of gardeners as there are plants in a garden began to grow and flourish. And then I met Katie.
Impatiens and extra tradescantia from my garden filled out her beds before getting whacked by the black walnut.
Katie is a regardener. I have lost track of how many plants have met their demise in her tiny backyard. Just across her property line a massive black walnut tree towers over her garden, keeping her dogs shaded as they destroy whatever the walnut tree hasn't already killed. Big dogs in a small area are always a problem, but Katie assumed they would burn off their energy by playing with each other insted of collaborating to destroy her garden. A canine combo of Einstein and Houdini, Fergie plots and schemes while pretending to sleep. Maddie, with a mane of fluffy golden fur and the IQ of a potato, eagerly agrees to all of Fergie's evil plans.
"If I can repeatedly thread a wire through the key creating a strong enough degree of tension, I can turn the lock on the door by tying the wire to Maddie's collar and convincing her to run in circles. It just might work. If I can't get the lock to turn, I think I'll keep working on my renovation projects by eating another hole through the wall. It really expedites the process of going from one room to another. My humans were so proud of my last project they jumped and screamed for joy." Fergie
"Yum, yum, yum. When I'm done with the peanut butter, I'm gonna bury my bone in the pot of dirt on the deck. Uh-huh, uh-huh. I'm gonna bury it straight up and down so it looks like it's growing outta the dirt. Uh-huh uh-huh. Katie's gonna be so proud of me." Maddie
When Katie and her husband bought their house, they spent the first summer removing overgrown shrubs, improving the lawn, and turning the tiny backyard into a garden. It was beautiful. After adopting Fergie and Maddie from a local shelter, the new improvements took on a different tone.
Hostas, astilbes, pieris, tradescantia were ravaged equally as Fergie and Maddie joyfully helped Katie with every regardening project. Eager to prove themselves worthy of her continued love and affection and sensitive to the difficulties of gardening while heavily pregnant, they dug this four foot wide hole just for her. Had the concrete slab been just a few feet to the left, they would have contiued to help. They wagged their tails and stood proudly by their work.
Sensing how difficult it is to care for a baby when threatened by bags of peat moss, Fergie and Maddie decided to help by eliminaitng the forces of evil hidden within.
Most people would have given up after having to regarden for the hundredth time. But not Katie. The dogs are still there, the baby is safe from the horrors of peat moss, the black walnut tree continues to poison the soil, and Katie still gardens, more determined each time to create a solution that will outsmart the dogs and the tree. I may have a larger garden, but she is the ultimate gardener.
Phlox and coeopsis seedlings from my garden thrive in Katie's front yard, the only garden the dogs don't have access to.