I Forgot What I Planted

The Tale of an Inattentive Gardener

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Spring has finally arrived in our part of the country. Birds wake us up before our alarms, and the sun refuses to go to bed like an insolent toddler.

Last week I noticed the flower bed just outside of our kitchen window is thrusting up all sorts of greenery into the world. For the life of me, I cannot remember what that garden might birth. However, I vaguely recall some sort of hardware store sale wherein several bags of bulbs were purchased and wedged haphazardly throughout those beds. Probably not planted during the right time of year, nor in the correct area for the level of sun exposure needed, but oh well.

I am not a gardener per se. My husband has DNA from people that carefully architect gorgeous landscapes and flower gardens AND integrate lettuce and tomatoes from their own soil into Sunday dinners. My family planted fields of potatoes and corn so we could afford school clothes. I just assumed you were assigned whatever flowers God picked for your yard, except for the row of lilies along the clothesline that my father tended.

So when we bought our home five years ago, gardening became an adventure. Some prior owners had maintained fabulous garden beds years ago. And we continue to add random configurations of plants discovered at roadside sales and garden shops. There is also a smattering of remnants from my dear friend Loris, as she parts out her own plants and shares them in her crusade to restore our yards to native landscapes.

So there is no algorithm. No plan. No software we consult to map out our yard maintenance plans for the spring. And I really enjoy it.

A few years into our marriage, when I realized how fun it is to watch brilliant colors pop up from the dirt, my husband designed a beautiful butterfly garden for me. The best part of the garden is the path weaving through it. That same summer, a handsome old brick building was being torn down on the river to make room for condos. On an evening walk, we jumped the fence to gather as many of those bricks as we could. That piece of local history now resides among our flowers.

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It’s a bit of a hodge podge set-up, I admit. But that’s pretty consistent with the rest of our life here, this home we are creating.

Last night I received a text from our neighbor. He really wanted to play guitar, but his baby was staying at the pawn shop for a time. I gladly delivered our guitar to his front porch. I love his front porch…for it is populated by a bicycle, chairs for friends, an ashtray and musical instruments. He was so grateful to be able to play. I was equally – and selfishly – grateful to fall asleep to his strumming.

All that to say, the arrival of spring, new growth and live music last night washed over me, providing a sense of peace and joy. I’ll keep you posted on what flowers arrive in our beds, and which tunes stream from the neighboring front porch.

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