In the Garden


“Just living is not enough, said the butterfly.  One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
 ~ Hans Christian Andersen ~


I left home in the midst of winter, and returned to find spring.

Our mid-afternoon rains have returned.  For some reason my wild ducks come to roost, on the back porch, when it rains.  I have a new mother, with her ducklings playing in the rain – they sit down to sip the droplets of water, and then stand erect braving the wind and rain – they are practicing for fiercer storms, whether or not they yet know it.  Even during hurricanes we have seen the ducks stand defiantly against the rain and wind before choosing to seek shelter in the banana grove or under the intentionally over-grown hibiscus.  I know my ducks, most of those who now live in my yard, started their life with their mother’s bringing them to my porch, to feast on bird-seed, and the like.  When they begin to arrive with their new ducklings, I know that spring has come. 


This year has been a bit odd.  We had a long, cold winter, at least for South Florida.  The frost and freeze sadly killed our iguanas and numerous plants.  I thought I had lost the majority of my orchids, but one of the last things my Mother said, before we separated, was it will be nice, for me to go home, and see what is in bloom.  I hesitated, remembering the scene of death and destruction I had left; but was willing to hope with her.  As is so often the case, my Mother was right.  I have started repotting the orchids, part of my spring ritual, and have sadly found quite a few which are worse for wear; but there are others actually in bloom and some producing new pups (new plants).   


This strange winter, much of it spent away from home or convalescing from a cold that would not go away, has finally ended and spring is turning into summer.  My garden is neglected, but it nevertheless is in bloom, and a source of comfort and inspiration.  I love to sit in the garden both day and night, during the day I enjoy the beauty of the flowers, but in the evening it is the fragrance of jasmine, gardenias and roses which lofts through the air and carries me away to exotic locations and memories from the past.  


Though the garden is a tireless task master, it does have its’ rewards, which inspire you to go forward, giving more than one often wants.  Last week I found baby limes!  I had nurtured four citrus seedlings, and long ago lost track of what they were; thus when we planted them in the ground, it was anyone’s guess what might come forth.  I could not have been more pleased, I love limes!  Of course, the fact that the tree has fruited, now makes me want to tend her more generously, instead of pursuing some other of my hearts desires.  




Joy has been sharing with me how much she is enjoying her Maine garden, which was dormant all winter and is now bursting with life, I have been waiting to see pictures of her garden and new garden gate which Juan, her husband, built for her, much to her delight.  As I wait, I thought I might motivate her and others, to share their garden and garden tips.  In truth, this is a column which I am one day expecting someone else to write, as her garden is breathtaking; but until she finds the time to share, I thought we might all fill in a bit.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  



These are two pictures of the same rose bush.  I know that the small off shoots are supposed to be pinched, to allow the center bloom to flourish; but I can never bring myself to do so.  The center bloom was beautiful, and the plant had enough love for the off shoots to bloom as well – I have left what is left of the central bloom, for comparison.    




The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.
So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.
And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,–
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.
         ~Dorothy Frances Gurney~

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