A few days ago, I tossed out a quote and a question in a post titled “Show Me Your Garden“. I received many thoughtful comments, that made me think all the harder about how I would answer the same question.
I thank you for your answers which were as varied as the plants in your gardens:
* every plant reflects a desire to learn more, to grow as a gardener, and to find a place of peace…
* A perfectionist in some areas of my life, and a ‘oh well, what ever’ in other areas whimsical and cluttered. Exactly who I am…
* I consider my garden a work in progress, as I am a work in progress, too
* …a canvas upon which I can paint, and parts more like a sketch book in which I work out small riddles…
* inspired by the natural world and recreating a reflection of it in our garden
* My garden is me: I’m not prejudice, I love all sorts, and they can be crowded yet live happily side by side without any tension or cattiness. It’s a blissful place.
* my greatest wish is for a totally private garden that no one can see from the outside
* Maybe that is a bit reflective of me at this stage in my life – calmer, more understated
* I think probably my garden style reflects what I am not. That is; calm.
* a space that is my sanctuary, a place I feel safe and able to reflect and introvert, a place were I find it much easier to empty my mind and just be…
* always trying to keep it organized and simple, but giving in to it’s wild and wonderful ways.
* I know (at some level) the garden is a reflection of myself – but as it is work in progress I am not sure what scruffy shrubs and old stones walls says about me…
That is a small sampling of the comments you so generously left. Whether you were aware of it at the time of writing or not, I think all the remarks reveal something about the author. Most of all, I believe your honest passion shone through as clearly and as brightly as your April blooms.
My garden changed dramatically when, through separation and divorce, I moved from a large house and property into a much smaller apartment. That was almost ten years ago and this apartment still feels like “I’ve never unpacked my suitcase”, if that makes sense. If I lived here another twenty years, it would never feel like home. That’s the Reader’s Digest version of how I got from there to here, so I thought the easiest way to explain my own garden reflections is to approach it from what it was, what it is, and what it may become.
As It Was
This is an aerial view of my former property as taken by my daughter from a Dept of Natural Resources helicopter. The property outlined in red was mine; the yellow is my parents’ home; the lime green dots indicate a well-worn path that led to the beach and lighthouse; the aqua dots outline a pond feature; the orange dots mark where a large, in-ground swimming pool was located…that my ex promptly filled in shortly after we separated.
So, as you can see, the property had huge potential, and I had huge dreams. The acreage was a horse pasture before we built on it, and we mowed all 4.5 acres. I had already started landscaping the area around the pond to create a “serenity garden”, but you can’t see that from the distant, aerial photo. I had also done a fair bit of work inside and outside the round-topped fence that enclosed the pool.
What does this property that was reflect about my personality? That I love water, having lived at the ocean’s edge my entire life…that I crave space…that I’m a dreamer, whether or not my plans ever came to fruition…that I sought serenity. That I was hopelessly naive.
As It Is
My garden space now consists of an 8′ x 4′ balcony. That’s quite a downsize from four and a half acres! I’ve managed, by using a variety of containers and annuals, to create some bright splashes of color in summers past. I’ve gathered some brilliant ideas from reading the blogs here on Blotanical and hope to incorporate many of them to take advantage of every square inch of gardening space.
So, my garden that is consists of containers of fluorescent-colored annuals, as much as possible. And the metaphor fits perfectly — I feel contained and constrained in this apartment. I long for the day when I can return to a house with lots of room for gardening. I’m sure the brazenly bright colors reflect my weariness with the beige that is this apartment. As my garden has been downsized, so has my life. Both have become much smaller and enclosed. I’m like a garden butterfly, ready to break free of my chrysalis and emerge with trowel and rake in hand! Whee!
As It May Be
Sadly, my favorite uncle passed away unexpectedly last August. His wife, my aunt and only family on my Dad’s side, is in the early stages of Alzheimers and has been confined to a nursing home since he passed. I’ve been looking after their house, checking in on things once a week. It’s located about a fifteen minute drive from where I now live. Every childhood memory I have of holidays and summer vacations centers around this house.
Due to insurance requirements and because the house is starting to show signs of neglect from not being inhabited for almost ten months, we may be moving in. The only hurdle to this is that my aunt, bless her heart, still thinks she will be returning to it herself. Something which, unfortunately, just won’t happen.
It seems a shame that the house is unoccupied and it would remove us from an apartment into a house. It would be my pleasure to look after it for my aunt, until such time as it will become mine legally. Until we are able to move in, I am free to putter in my uncle’s neglected gardens as I wish.
What aspect of my personality would come to light by restoring this house and these gardens and injecting my own preferences into the property? I see these gardens as hope. And I am an eternally glass-half-full sort of person. But if I’m honest, I also tend to live too much in the past. I do not hang onto past wrongs or hold grudges or anything in that vein. But I do long for times past when this house — and my own — echoed with the laughter of family gatherings and little girls’ giggles. I know I can’t bring those times back, and I’ve chided myself repeatedly for hanging onto memories so tightly — how can one live in the now and move forward if your life revolves around things that happened a lifetime ago?
And then I remind myself that if all else fails, and even if it doesn’t, all Nature is my garden. I live in a province that offers its residents a wealth of “gardening” opportunities — from bee-filled apple orchards to highland heathers to coastal beach grass — it’s all there for the discovery. To that end, I’m soon launching a blog that will feature only native flora and scenery. All Nature, My Garden will be up and running as soon as the weather permits that first jaunt into the fields and forests, and I look forward to bringing you snippets of Nova Scotia through prose, poems, and pictures. The blog site is still under construction, but I’ll be submitting it to Blotanical when ready. Soliloquy will remain as it is; a place to post thoughts, photos, and reflections about gardening and everyday life.
Nature’s garden reveals a huge part of my personality — the part that searches for that which is real and grounded and serene. The part that believes in dreams.