The Weekly Gardener 1


My Lovely Garden

The Flowers of Spring

Purple Clematis

Usually around this time of year I start to panic, I look around and wonder where everything went? Where are the flowers, where is the order, how am I ever going to dig myself out of the mountain of debris that becomes the fall garden. This is when I find it useful to revisit pictures from seasons past and wax nostalgic over the dewy roses, the cheerful daffodils and the overabundance of violets.

I hold on to the flowers of spring.

Gardens have the magnificent privilege of reinventing themselves each year, which is why you always see them with fresh eyes and you don't realize how old they really are. The oldest garden still in existence dates from the fifth century.

I looked through the pictures from previous years and even though no two seasons are the same, the spirit of the garden endures, a very familiar presence and one that had become so dear to me over the years.

After fawning over the beautiful pictures I accidentally glanced through the windows at the chaos outside and the lizard brain returned to panic mode, useless, as always, to test whether the garden is blooming less and less with each passing year, whether the flowers are less beautiful, basically to waste my time.

The garden is and always will be beautiful and I love it with all my heart just the way it is.


Of Balance and Permanence

Sweet Violets

In the hustle and bustle of modern life nature feels slow somehow, we don't have the patience to acknowledge its subtle cues anymore and in the process we don't realize the fact that the fault lies with us and not with it. There is a reason for nature's slowness, the same reason that makes long lived creatures' hearts beat slower: the closer something is to permanence, the less it tends to move.

Systems that are inherently stable have no need for change, even over long periods of time, and those systems include many species of the plant kingdom.

One can't understand a garden's idiosyncrasies, because it functions on complex parameters that are mostly hidden from view, especially when one regards the vegetal realm as a simple, static set that can be modified at will. In reality an established perennial garden is an autonomous network that manages its own nutrients and water, maintains its own hierarchy, finds its own balance. In all my years of gardening I learned one thing: the garden picks and chooses what it will accept or reject and it always has the last word. You can expend enormous amounts of energy to make the wrong plant fit and exhaust yourself in the process, but at the beginning of the next season that plant will not be back, no matter how bold the font on its perennial label.

This is why every spring I wait with the trepidation of a final exam to see which of the new plants got booted off the island. Those that don't usually thrive and grow beyond my wildest dreams.

After years of experience one finally finds wisdom; one stops worrying whether things will work out and starts knowing when they will. For instance, I don't doubt that next April the garden will be covered in violets.