For months since my husband’s passing I have stared out the kitchen window, depressed by the sight of my neglected garden, overgrown, brown, uncared for.
My daughter has invited friends to sit out there, and on those warm evenings we’ve talked about the garden’s potential: fresh plantings, mulch, more lighting, pruning the trees, re-working the fountain, maybe new furniture… It’s a long list.
And then it began, the way all change does, in the smallest of ways. Maybe it was the weather moving towards fall, maybe it was waking up one morning with just a bit more energy, but I went out that day and began deadheading the yarrow. Feeling energized, I went onto my salvias and my purple basil. The sun felt divine on my shoulders – warm but not too hot. I breathed in the scent of the plants, the fresh mulch I was spreading. I found peace in the meditative practice of watering one plant at a time, watching the butterflies light on the still existing blossoms – no rush, no hurry.
Within a couple of weeks, I had new growth on the plants and ideas began to show up in my writings. I wanted color, I needed beauty. I wanted a place where I could welcome friends for tea, or simply sit out there and watch life go on. There is no denying the pulse of life that urges us forward; perhaps the garden had become a metaphor for that.
And then the Divine added her two cents. Sitting together at one of Elise’s gatherings, chatting with her friends, I spoke to one who had graduated with a degree in landscape architecture. He offered, if I was ever interested, to help me with the garden. He wanted the practical experience, would do whatever I needed. Another gal chimed in – she knew nothing about gardens but would love to help as well.
So it grew, as did the acknowledgement that this is my work, I’ve spent years working as a designer, I know how to do this. One step at a time, with a little help from my friends.
The vision continues to solidify on the page as I imagine a balance of foundation plants, movement, scent and color. For I must have color. Salvias, manzanita, ceanothus, grasses, bulbs … become my mantra.
A trellis I had built just weeks after Mike’s passing is finally being painted, cobalt blue, to support star lavender and jasmine. I have plans to repaint the chairs purple and bring in orange cushions (my daughter gives me a look). Next week is Theodore Payne’s native garden sale, and I will treat myself to a field trip – trying to be a little more thoughtful about what I will undoubtedly bring home.
This is the perfect time of the year to be reviving a garden, the weather cooling (we hope), the winter rains not too far away (we hope).
I am creating a sanctuary, a place to gather with friends, or sit alone, a place for the birds to nest and the butterflies to rest. A place to sprinkle some of his ashes and welcome him home.
With the help of friends, and a kiss from the Divine, I am creating a garden I can see out my kitchen window that pleases my eyes, eases my heart, brings me joy. Reminding me that the pulse of life, even if we don’t always feel it, is eternal.