Only When You’re Dead Are You “Finished”

June 5, 2010

After an unexpected trip taking the Million Dollar Dog to the vet to treat an ear infection and then a quick trip to Trader Joe’s, I wandered into the back yard, thinking I would move a few foxglove between thunderstorms.

Two hours later, I came back in the house, muddy and sweaty and smelly and probably sunburned.

While I did get to the foxglove, I also found myself digging up hostas to plant along the edge of the pin oak bed, taking out peonies to plant in the Neither Here Nor There bed on the bean bag side of the house and many other tasks. The coral bells under the pin oak are uninspired, so I pulled out lily of the valley from the shade bed – honestly, how much of that does one need? – and put the coral beds there. That spot gets enough sun that I think we’ll be successful there. I moved salvia from the top of the bump to the edge of the pin oak bed, so I can be greeted by purple spikes on the side of the house – nice show that will make. The bachelor buttons are getting crowded out on the bump, so I dug those up and put them in the shade bed too. I think it’s the same light as under the pin oak, but only time will tell.

I also dug up some perennial geranium and moved that to the shade bed. Pulling out the lily of the valley gave me alot of room. The oregano is positively invasive, but the butterflies love it. I did dig out about three-quarters of it in all spots, as if you give oregano an inch, it takes the whole yard. (I laughed so hard when I thought of that). I didn’t transplant it; it went in the compost pin.

Now a good soaking is in order, although I hope it will be late at night, as there are several graduation parties today that need sunny weather. The bachelor button is sad and drooping, the geranium looking stressed and the salvia shocked. A gentle rain would be just the ticket to make these transplants take.

When making photographs, I noticed a cluster of something that I don’t remember planting, but maybe I did. I’m letting them grow to figure out if I really planted them there, or if they are something we composted that sprouted. In front, the lavender is budding, the coreopsis is blooming, and the butterfly garden is doing its job, as I stood and watched purple butterflies flutter and land, flutter and land, usually on the oregano.

Coneflowers are budding and blooming, the hydrangeas more full and big and beautiful each day. The Annabelle in the back still hasn’t bloomed, but the Endless Summer in the front are living up to their name.

It’s interesting to me how the garden is never “finished.” It’s like life. You start out with a plan, be it college or trade school and then find out how circumstances change and you change to fit those circumstances. Plants need to be divided and thinned to prosper, just like children grow up and “transplant” themselves, starting their own stories and adventures and families. Weeds need to be pulled out, like negative thoughts and negative people need to be avoided. We all need a good foundation, like rich soil, to set down roots and grow healthy and strong. Composting takes things we thought were useless and makes them an integral part of our success, be it information we thought unnecessary or people we ignored. We plant in careful rows, with thoughtfulness, like we plan our lives. Then comes the wind to scatter seeds in unexpected places or the heat to burn it to a crisp.

Years ago, I tried to remove a clematis from the front of the house. Each year, somehow, it came back in that same “undesirable” spot. Finally, I bought a trellis and let it grow. The best thing we can do is learn from the mistakes, live with change and embrace what grows.

As a person, I’m not “finished” yet – I have much I want to do and accomplish. I see Dominic struggling with “what to be” and I understand that he won’t understand for many years that there really is no such conclusion. We are all changing, all through the seasons of our lives, just like the garden changes, and the things we thought so important in the spring are not things we’ll care about come wintertime.


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