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Reflecting on my garden


Even though the sun is shining and spring is on it’s way, the cold nip of the wind still hangs in the air. The garden beckons – and I obey. It is muddy – but drier today than a few days ago. The brisk breeze moves the wind chimes – sometimes ever so slightly, sometimes violently. It is a sound I enjoy and often hear late at night or first thing in the morning upon awakening. Many of the wind chimes are now broken so I cherish the few that are left. I don’t know when I might be able to replace the missing ones.

Many of the bird houses and feeders are on the ground – and some of the birdbaths are now broken. These past few years – especially last year – made it hard to get into the garden to do any type of upkeep. It shows. There is dead plant material and leaves everywhere. Plant tags are scattered. The entire garden is in disarray. Weeds linger that should have been removed long before they ever bloomed – but bloom they did and thus the seven year weed seed cycle begins again. This time I fight the battle alone – or so it seems.

Death was only too real last year. My dad on September 1 and Jerry (my husband) on September 14. My dad fought a long battle here on the farm. His last days were spent in a nursing home. Jerry fought a short battle in the hospital and even though we lived apart that did not make it any easier to cope. He was still my best friend. He went from a diagnosis of cancer to his final resting place in less than two weeks time. He was 41 years old. I found it hard to go into the garden last fall because this garden was started by the two of us. Then old man winter came. It was a hard, cold winter that seems to be lingering on. I saw snowflakes again today. The hard winter had a huge effect on the garden as well.

As I walked through the garden today, I saw signs of death everywhere – but also the promise of spring in those few plants that were emerging. The roses are going to need extensive cutting. I will leave them alone until they begin to bud out but the majority of the rose canes are black. I saw two to three inches of green stem above the ground on most of them. This saddens me greatly. The snowdrops, one hellebore and two of the witch hazels are blooming – but where are the winter aconite and the early spring bulbs? Sleeping under the half frozen ground I hope. I see very few bulbs emerging. Those who follow along know spring is something worth seeing in my garden because of the masses of blooms.

I have lots of trellis structure damage and tree limbs down as well. I don’t know that the trellis’ can be saved. New ones may have to be built. Spring is indeed going to be a time of huge change – not only in the garden, but in my personal life as well. This seems to be a time of deep reflection – and I feel that when I am in the garden. I honestly do not know how badly the winter affected all of my plants – and it may be several more weeks before I can access that damage. I do not suspect the plants that did not survive are going to be replaced – at least not this year. There are other affairs that must be put into order first – and I wonder if the garden grieves with me or if it is simply waiting there to help me through this huge life change.

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