Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why I Do It

Sometimes I think about how much time and money I put into my garden and wonder why I do it. It can be back breaking labor and I live someplace where hardly anyone ever gets to see the results. It is mostly just for myself. Why do I get so absorbed in my latest purchase (black lace elderberry. Wonderful- no?) Why do I think so hard about where to put it? And what will it look like in 10 years? Will I still be in this house? Will the next owner just let everything go back to grass?

My hands are a lost cause. Nails are short and beat. The edges are stained. Another gardener gave me the tip of bleaching your hands before a big social event but you want to save that for very special events as it makes your nails even more brittle. It is much better to stand with your arms folded and hands tucked neatly underneath. I keep my toenails painted a dark color to lessen the effect of dirt stained edges. My hairdresser comments on how bleached out my hair is- despite almost constantly wearing a hat. I am a mess.

But I look up at Bald Sunapee in the distance through my cheesy arbor and it makes me smile. My whole body relaxes ever so slightly... even with my fingers cramped up from pulling sod all day. I look around and see more work to be done, but it doesn't seem a burden. Just working towards that goal of perfection and probably never reaching it.

My garden is full of stories- mistakes, successes, projects not yet started. Sometimes those things are all rolled into one. This little white edged hosta is my orphan hosta. Two years ago NH experienced devastating flooding. Small rivers over flowed, people drowned, houses and roads were lost, rivers cut new paths. My mother was walking along the Piscataquog River in Goffstown looking at the swollen stream. She found a sprig of hosta, clearly washed down from a home upstream. She gave it to me. Like some forlorn puppy or kitten I put it in my garden even though I didn't really need it or want it. I have moved it a few times as it has never really flourished, but I can't bring myself to rip it up and throw it away. I keep it because I like it and I like its story.

I like gardening too. I can't help it. It is primal. I want to make something out of nothing. Something of beauty and pleasure. At least to me.


smith kaich jones said...

This post just made me feel good.

Thank you.


SMC said...

We aim to please here at Casino Gardens!

LYC said...

It's your church!