Sunday, September 17, 2006

Reflections on a First Year Garden

echinacea 'fragrant angel'
If you think about it for a moment, the state of our gardens may be a reflection on the state of our lives. Messy gardens imply a messy life; neat orderly gardens may therefore be a mark of a neat orderly life.

It would appear I have a few areas of my life that require work.

It always seems that my gardens and dreams outstrip my ability to maintain them, that the projects I want to do and wind up doing, like writing books, raising kids, sailing and working always get in the way of having one of those picture book gardens. My hoses don't get put away - pots wind up on the back porch too often without getting put downstairs - oh - if you're at all like me, you know what I mean. If you're not like me - you haven't a prayer of understanding my cluttered garden. My gardens never look as neat, orderly or peaceful as do those in the books.

My mind doesn't work that neatly or peacefully either.

Fall always seems to me to be a time to reflect on the past gardening year, to think of the things I've learned and see where I can do things differently next year. I can evaluate my greatest gains (flower beds built) and my greatest losses (vegetable garden destroyed by hornworms while on holiday) and I have to resolve to either change my ways for next year or suffer the consequences again.

I had better create a new mind because as I shrink my garden dreams into a smaller space, I'll need to maintain them all in a neater manner.

But what I need to do is not likely what I will do. My mind is rather like my garden I'm afraid. Lots of new plants and ideas. Lot of searching for just the right plant / word in the composition.

And a wonderful chaotic jumble of creativity I simply couldn't live without.

I think I've got it.

My garden design and my mind are simply cottage gardens with those impossible-to-design serendipitous colour combinations that might (or might not) work. The garden changes from year to year and so does my mind. I like to think the garden gets better (insert big grin here) so obviously does my mind. Some plant combinations and ideas work - others are simply "grand experiments".

So on reflection, there will never be an ordered garden in my life. It will always be a collection of interesting plants, new plants and just plain weird plants along with some very old and treasured favourites. And that sums up my mind as well I'm afraid. (chuckle)

Life's a giggle and so is my garden. Neither are much for changing I'm afraid.


At 12:15 AM, Blogger Trudi said...

"Messy gardens imply a messy life; neat orderly gardens may therefore be a mark of a neat orderly life."

This is so true, it hurts! It also explains why I didn't want anyone visiting my garden this past year! (embarrassed grin)

Thank you for this great post and for making me smile!

At 12:19 PM, Blogger lisa said...

While I agree with the "messy garden/messy life" parallel, I don't see either as such a bad thing. The messy garden allows for some surprising volunteer wildflowers to pop up when you may have pulled them as weeds. The messy life keeps you open to change/chaos, and helps you be open-minded and flexible. I have a sign in my kitchen that reads "A Clean House is the Sign of a Dull Woman"...according to my male friends (intimate and platonic), this rings true much of the time. Good thing, cuz' I have no intention of changing my philosophy! ;)

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Amaranth said...

Amen. I like my messy gardens just the way they are. If you spend too much time making them orderly, I think you lose some of the magic.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As they say at work -- If a messy desk is the sign of a messy mind, what is the sign of an empty desk?

Perhaps some gardens are a bit to rigid and orderly to truly be enjoyed, because "nothing" can be out of place. I enjoy seeing a surprise pop up here and there and love the flowing curving lines of a cottage style garden.
Just a thought from AlaskanSunflower

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Carol from L.I. said...

Yes, really, to your entire article! For myself, I have always felt that my purse and my garden are a direct reflection of what state my mind was in at any particular time and day! Neither are "just awful" the same time, neither "stand at attention"..But both are me, at any given's all comfortable and I like it that way! : )


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