In the Garden


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Tending Someone Else’s’ Garden

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What I most liked, about the first house, we bought, was that the yard was a blank canvas.  With the exception of a few standard shrubs, the yard was basically empty.  After years of container gardening, it was wonderful to finally have a place where I could plant my banana and coconut trees, a place where they would both bear fruit.  I could plant gardenia’s, my favorite flower, jasmine and heliconia.  I was thrilled to say yes to “the Mama’s” hibiscus, which had over grown the pot it had lived in for years, and which she had no inclination to plant herself.  I took every plant offered at the three garden clubs I participated in, including one Joan Hayden, Evelyn, and I started in our neighborhood; and was equally happy to share cuttings, pups, and plants which were jumping out of their pots and ready to be planted in the ground.  I designed every plot, pulled out yards of grass (as did poor Kate), placed rocks, pavers, and lawn art around the front, back, and sides of my yard – all to great delight.


I planted a fig tree, remembering Mr. Canales’ fig tree in Pico Rivera, and how much my Mother had enjoyed his figs.  Her avocado, planted from a seed, also made it into the ground, as countless succulents, which I was never a huge fan of, but which looked nice against the stone of the house, and demanded almost nothing from me.  A vegetable garden went in, as did a shade garden, a cut flower and herb garden, and of course bromeliads and my favorite garden, the orchid garden.

I know this garden and I know it well.  The basil and coriander share the same space, but bloom in different seasons; I am never surprised when one replaces the other, as I am the one who planted seeds for both.

Walking around a garden is always delightful and always offers the surprise of what is in bloom or is ready to be harvested; but when you are the gardener, there is an expectation that also accompanies you . . . you planted roses, you expect the roses to bloom.  However, when you walk around someone else’s garden, you walk only in anticipation.

This spring and summer, I am having the odd experience of walking around a garden, which now belongs to me, as it came with the house, but which someone else planted, and planted it with plants which I do not grow in Florida, nor grew in California, and thus need them to bloom, in order to be sure that the vine which I suspect and hope might be Columbine, is indeed Columbine; it is not.  It is in fact Clematis, I have been corrected by Joy, and much to my deepest pleasure, has purple blossoms!

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What initially looked like beds of weeds, I have patiently watched, anxiously checking the gardens, every time we have come back, from one of our trips away from Maine.  What bloomed?  Blubs – great, what are you?  Daffodils, hyacinths, and iris, very well done indeed!  So many perennials or are they just weeds in bloom?  I expected the Echinacea, which have just started to bloom, and the black eyed Susan’s, which have not yet bloomed, as they were both nicely dressed in the fall, when we moved in, but what in the world are these pink and purple ferns?

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I have been photographing the cutting garden and shade garden faithfully, watching the changes, and celebrating the bleeding hearts, which I know, and trying to embrace the hosta’s which I have never fully appreciated, but have a feeling I will find a renewed love for.

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For a good long while, I was thrilled that the garden had been planted in pinks and purples, but then a yellow plant bloomed, and finally tiger lily’s galore; all color is good.

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It will take a while before I will make this garden my own.  Perhaps, in the autumn, I will find time to thin out a few beds, and transplant some of the overcrowded areas; but the only plant I shall add this year is a sage.  For now, I shall enjoy someone else’s vision, grateful for a garden to tend.

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One Response to In the Garden

  1. Joy on July 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

    The “ferns” are astilbe. The “columbine: is clemantis. The bright yellow flowers are evening primrose. These are terrific New England flowers, that are mature, and well established. I have the same in my garden. You should have years of enjoyment from them. The clemantis will want to keep shady “feet and a sunny “head” so make sure not to weed, or remove plantings from around its roots. They are lovely. You are very lucky.

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