June 3, 2006
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.- Cicero
A RENEWABLE JOY
If you are a gardener or just a garden lover, this is the time of year you have to love. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your, or someone else’s, labor. We have for the last few years been planting perennials with a sense of abandonment. We, for clarification, are my wife, Hazel by name, and I. By rank she is THE gardener. I, on the other hand, am the mover of plants, bushes and other growing things, digger, opinion giver, and sycophant in my opinions of “yeah that’s great, couldn’t be better, or I love it”.
I should mention here that by saying garden, I mean flower garden, not the veggie, practical garden that helps to sustain you in time of need and satisfies those cravings for hot radishes, cold watermelons, and the top of the food chain, the glorious, red, plump, sweet, king of the garden, the tomato. No, I am talking about the other kind of garden, the one that satisfies another basic need, the need for beauty in awe-inspiring shapes, colors, and aromas, that reappear each spring, to reaffirm the promise of renewal.
This year, like each of the last two, Hazel proclaimed the work finished, and all we would have to do from now on is to pull a few weeds and just enjoy. Just like the last two, not so. In the first couple years, she planted all the gardens around the perimeter of the lawn and one round garden in the middle of the back portion. “Ahh”, all the work is done and now all we need to do is watch what she has wrought. As we sit in the shade of tall maple trees in our Adirondacks sipping on cold iced teas and discussing the world’s travails, all is well. Silence. I glance over and see THE gardener, Hazel staring toward the front of the lawn and I know, I sense, a plan is being formed. I was right, the front, middle portion of the lawn was just that, just lawn. In Hazel’s view of the world, that is blank canvas and her mission is to fill the canvas with color. To cement her view, the local paper is advertising our favorite garden center’s “fifty percent off sale” on all perennials. After filling the autos backseat with flowers, off we go to our beloved, much visited, home improvement centers. We have two, Lowe’s and Home Depot and we visit both. What we want is an arbor. Home Depot gets the first chance and they only have plastic, which doesn’t inspire us. We find a wooden model at Lowe’s that suits us both to a tee. I dig deep into my pocket and pay the ransom and leave the store with the arbor tucked under my arm. Everything is unassembled these days and this is no different. Fast forward and it is standing tall and proud in the formerly blank canvas area awaiting adornment. After our return from the fifty percent off sale we are loaded with yellows, reds, purples, and one or two red hot pokers, which looks like it sounds. We purchased trumpet flower vines that will grow up the sides of the arbor and when mature will sport some red trumpet shaped flowers. Now the reason I mention the red trumpet shaped flowers is because it will attract one of nature’s curiosities, the hummingbird. I visualize sitting in our screened-in back porch and looking out directly onto the arbor, and seeing those little creatures sticking their long beaks into the trumpet. Off to one side of the arbors perimeter, we planted a butterfly bush several years ago. It is in full bloom and does just what it is advertised to do. It attracts butterflies. Our butterflies come in August and it is indeed a magical time watching the butterflies of various shapes and colors flutter around and in the bush. The bush is rather tall; it is flourishing at about eight feet high. Next year if the trumpets are in bloom, I dream of sitting on my porch and watching the hummers and the butterflies darting here and there and thinking it can’t get much better than this.