I love the thought of gardening. I love experiencing a beautiful oasis. I love working the soil with my hands. My reality…I’m garden poor. My fantasies are writing checks that my truth can’t cash. Yes, I live in a condo but do have areas where I could garden. Yes, it is mostly shade but there are shade-tolerant plants. Yes, I have knees that don’t bend so well but there are ways around that.
One household chore I never minded was mowing the lawn. I was a champion mower and loved making designs in the lawn. Once I graduated from grass clippers to a weed eater, doing the trimming was a breeze. This is a right-handed world and back in the day the grass clippers were made for right-handed folks. As with scissors, I struggled mightily and my efforts always yielded a mangled-looking and sore left hand. I digress as is my custom.
What would my gardens look like? In my mind is an old farmhouse-type cottage in New Hampshire. I visited there a few times when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old. It was a wonderful place to visit. The beds seemed high off the ground and even in the summer we needed lots of blankets. Rag rugs were scattered over the wide plank wood floors. There was a back porch that looked out to a yard that turned into a field. Crickets chirped madly and, in the evening, the air sparkled with lightning bugs. For me it was magical.
If I lived in that farmhouse I would create a long hedge of bridal wreath spirea running down the long edge of the property to the left of the house. That would create a nice natural break that would help stem any direct wind flow into the back yard area. Toward the very back of the yard, as it morphs into field, I would expect to have some bee hives. Ideally, they would be tended by someone else who needed a spot to place some bees.
Adjacent to the back porch area, I would plant groups of lilacs. Lots of lilacs in order to cut them and bring bunches of them into the house. One of my favorite poems is “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Walt Whitman’s epic ode to Lincoln. And lilacs remind me of my childhood. I love them. That’s enough for now. In my mind I’m creating different beds of flowers that pay homage to an earlier time. I will let you know what I come up with.