How Does Your Garden Make You Grow?

What’s in Your Garden? Why is it there? What does cultivating it do for you?

Never a boring moment in this magic garden

When I was young, whenever I’d see an older person watering or weeding their garden, I’d think, “How boring. Why don’t they get a life?” Little did I know that I, too, would one day succumb to the magical lure of a garden.

Now, decades later, my house is for sale and I’m condo bound. This will be my last garden.

I grieve to say good-bye to the lilac bush grown from a cutting from my mother’s garden. Next to it is a red leaf maple from one of the seedlings we gave out at my mother’s funeral 11 years ago. The azalea one of my sons gave me for Mother’s Day glows with pink next to a clump of fragrant lillies. Strawberries from a friend’s backyard have covered mine with succulent fruit. The rose bush cuttings from my aunt’s garden fill my house with sweetness and beauty well into November each year. The irises and violets from my late mother-in-law’s garden in the Berkshires have special meaning. Last fall, I planted 30 yellow tulips around the yard, and they sprang into a sunny symphony of color this spring. Hardest to leave are the hyacinths, 30 years of Easter gifts from my four sons and their children.As I sit in the garden, I feel the power of the earth as my tensions drain away to the serenade of songbirds. How this piece of earth has changed me. Weeding becomes a metaphor for my life as I pluck and pull and persevere despite protesting knees. As I dig, I have imaginary conversations with friends or family, get ideas for stories, and hum fragments of songs. Creating space for flowers, I also blossom in this outdoor classroom. Insights flow into me as I clear away debris makes me happy as I imagine the thirsty blooms drinking it in. The cycles of the garden keep me aware of my own cycles as I follow the sun, watch rosebuds ripen during my breaks from writing, and bathe in the moonlight. I am at one with nature.

As I work in my patch of paradise, I wonder what the young people going by think of me and my rapture. Maybe they think how boring my life must be.


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