Gardeners like to say that their gardens are a part of them, that destroying the garden destroys the gardener. But is the opposite also true? Does creating a garden create a gardener? If my garden is a part of me, it is my heart, raw and tender at another Mother's Day without my mom.
My mother died at 58, the cancer crawling from her breast to her pancreas, metastisizing and gaining strength before climbing her spine and cloaking her brain in a shawl of confusion and pain. There was no easy ending or sweet parting words. She collapsed, was found unconscious by a friend, and died several days later. I flew home, dealt with the details of her death and returned to my frozen town in upstate New York and tried not to go crazy.
My fathers death at 55 from stomach cancer caused by possible exposure to Agent Orange during Viet Nam, had been linear and neat. A diagnosis of no-time-left but enough time to spend together, a good bye in a small airport of "See ya later, kid" and peaceful release from constant pain. I felt his presence in my garden in South Carolina and I filled it with his favorite flowers.
When we moved to Virginia, I poured myself into creating a home, learning a new curriculum, and designing my garden. I fought stubbornly with the slick, heavy clay, thrusting roots in and praying they'd grow. I needed life to replace what had been taken, and found comfort in the small leaves and desperate seedlings. I unpacked my heart and began to heal. My garden did more than just create a gardener, it created a home.
Today is always a difficult day but instead of dwelling on what can't be changed, I've decided to share with you what I would share with my parents if they were still here. When I wander my garden, this is what brings me joy:
This honeybee is upside down on a 'Johnson's Blue' geranium.
The geraniums are always at their best in mid-spring. The sweetspire to the right is covered in buds and is slowly changing from early-growth-yellowish-green to summer green.
Several years back I planted red rhodies in the front of the house. A severe ice storm nearly killed them and I moved them to a sheltered spot to help them recover. They all eventually died but this one popped up when a branch rooted to the ground. It may be the world's only ground cover rhodie, but it's so happy and beautiful, I just enjoy it and let it do it's own thing. :o)
A happy 'Susanna Mitchell' marguerite
This grows in a pot with a slightly dwarf russian sage and some ornamental oregano
Chives by the dog run fence at a meet-n-mingle with the coreopsis.
The clematis by the back fence are much bigger this year than last! Hooray!! I think they really liked the kelp meal and worm compost I gave them.
The vines are rich with buds.
I planted these diervilla shrubs are bare root sticks last fall and they're growing! They even have flower buds at the top.
The Dog Run garden is packed with growth. I can hardly wait until everything until is in bloom!!
My 'Miss Kim' lilacs are planted by a window and the whole house smells like lilacs.
I love the yellowish orange of this 'Lemons and Oranges' gaillardia against the red pot.
A mysery seedling left on the doorstep by a wonderful friend!!
I moved the yarrow to a much moister spot and it's finally thriving!! However, I can't remember what color it is. Waiting for it to open is like waiting for Christmas. I love the texture of its leaves against the geraniums.
Beet seedlings growing in the shape of a smiley face!!
"A house is made with walls and beams, a home is built with love and dreams"
is painted over the kitchen doors near our table.