Well, I did it! I wrote every day from early October to New Year's Day 2010. Now I will write for fun when I feel like it and see where that gets me. Cheers to all my small-blessing-appreciating friends!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How the Garden Grows

A mild sunny day called for work in the garden. Today I have been cutting down the tangle of clematis vines and the brown remains of coreopsis. While I worked I was thinking of how our garden has changed in the last ten years.

What has become of the charming border of pinks, lavender, and alyssum we once had? Whither the wisteria and evergreen clematis? What of the frothy shore of maidenhair ferns beneath the rhododendrons? What about the elegantly pruned ivy arches in the front garden?

Growth and simplification are forces that have been shaping the garden. The small magnolia of ten years ago is working hard at becoming a majestic tree, reaching at least 30 feet so far. It began to crowd and overshadow the ivy arches, which were also a great nuisance to keep trimmed. Growth and simplification - out came the ivy. Pruning issues led to the removal of the wisteria and the evergreen clematis. Ours is a small garden and rampant growth overwhelms it. The maidenhair ferns? The neighbors cut down a densely-shading tree, opening that part of the garden to full sun. As they say, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! The fussy little border of pinks gave way to a more easy-going look, as the focus moved to our rose arbor. The peony whose flowers drooped on weak stems at any rain, the roses that attracted fungus, plants that grew gawky or died, were replaced by new favorites. We moved shrubs and flowers as they outgrew their spot or asked for better light.

Tim and I have learned to welcome the chance of rethinking parts of our garden. Each time, what appeared to be a problem became an opportunity. Some corner of the garden would undergo a renewal or acquire an identity it had lacked. It is a blessing I would do well to remember.

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