Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I love to Garden

You cannot tell by driving by my front yard, but I love to garden. I often take long detours in order to drive by a yard with a particular flower in bloom. My children know to watch for cars and children during the spring because I may forget to watch the road. My distracted driving comes from flowers--not cell phones--I simply love gardens. All gardens.

But when you arrive at my house you will find a wild mess of flowers. You see, I love flowers so much I have trouble thinning them out--ever. I simply can’t kill them. This is problematic. A true gardener will religiously deadhead their flowers, even before the bloom is spent in order to create a better show next week.

Every year I vow, next season will be different. I will finally get rid of the wild flowers that have grown in my flower beds for seven years now. The first year I threw the seeds down because my checkbook had no money left for buying plants. We had bought topsoil and dug flowerbeds, put in sprinklers and had no money left for the actual plants. So a three dollar bottle of wild flowers became my “garden.” The new rich soil produced wild flowers taller then my neighbor’s six foot fence. The color was brilliant and my boys built a fort in the “wild flower jungle.” The blooms lasted until the weight of the snow killed them. It was too late to clean the beds until spring. The heap of wildness became the lattice to hold the Christmas lights that Christmas and when spring came I was busy in school and didn’t get the old flowers out quite soon enough. When I finally had a warm day, in March,I began to pull the long stalks of deadness from the earth, only to discover a tiny rainforest hiding underneath the death. I halted my cleanup efforts. How can I kill the baby alysum? Certainly the harsh winds would kill the tender starts that had grown in the hot house the old plants created. So my wildness sat a little longer. The plethora of daffodils and tulips pushed through the debris and I had the ugliest bed, and prettiest flowers on the block.

Somehow I seem to re-create this happy chaos each year.

It is a bit messy, but I love it. Somehow the wild, cheerful flowerbeds match my home. Mom of six, my house is always just shy of pandemonium. It is a controlled chaos, and somehow, my flowerbeds seem to tell the world of the glorious mess of a life that lives inside.

 Every spring I walk the beds seeing the great grandchildren of my first garden’s flowers and every year I postpone killing them. I envision my flower beds planted in a formal rose garden. Something to rival the White House’s rose garden, or perhaps Mt. Vernon’s yards--but spring comes and I can’t bring myself to kill the small life pushing through.

Every fall I promise myself I will clean out the beds and start fresh next year, but how can I pull flowers out in full bloom? Somehow, I want a different garden, but can I kill other plants to do it?

This self-recognition has made me realize I must be a tree hugger after all. I have never considered myself as such, but who else values her wild flowers so much, that they live at the expense of her vegetable garden. Cucumber’s are forced to climb cosmos branches to finally see the sun. Once I even found a tomato plant hiding inside the cosmos near the end of fall. There was more than a hundred tomotoes climbing throughout that wild bed and I didn’t even know they were there. How can you not even know they are there? I hung the plant up in my garage before the first frost and I ate tomotoes from the garage for the next two months.

Any seeing my yard would be unimpressed with the mess. The daffodils and dandelions are both in bloom, but nestled under he mess of wild growth re-emerging, the strawberry plants are beginning to bloom and the blackberries look promising. So, I will keep one more season, this living metaphor for my life.