catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 10 :: 2007.05.18 — 2007.06.01


Gardening lessons

Part 6 of 10

February (In memory of a Brother who died too young)

When you have a garden you realize that plants die.  Favourite perennials don't survive the winter. Patches of grass are damaged by chemicals or overly aggressive shoveling during the cold months.  New seedlings planted in the spring can be eaten by rabbits or cut worms. An unexpected frost can hit.  And all through the year, you have to be aware of the whims of weather, disease and pests and do your best to protect what you are helping to grow.

But still, plants die.  Some are easily replaced with another trip to the garden center or by transplanting something from another area of the yard.  Other losses are harder to deal with.  Shrubs are expensive to replace and grow back slowly. There may be barren places in the planting plan you had for a bed or an area of your garden.  But usually in a few weeks, other plants have filled in and the new look of the bed is as pleasing or maybe even better than your original plan.

But then there are the huge losses.  Losses of trees that have been the backbone of your backyard view for many years.  Disease may make it necessary for you to do the unthinkable and cut down a dear friend that offered peace, shade and a haven for the little creatures you love to watch.  Or a sudden storm may topple friendly giants, creating a very different world in your garden—one that will change it completely.

Dealing with losses in the garden does not really prepare you for the major losses in your life.  Some losses are easily replaced—a broken dish, worn out towels. But when friends move or jobs change, our lives feel barren and empty for awhile.  These things take longer to adjust to but eventually the world settles into a new routine. 

Then there are things that happen and you know that somehow overnight life has changed completely, forever.  It cannot ever be the same again. Time will heal the wounds; the scar of roots pulled roughly out of the ground.  The sod can be smoothed, new grass planted, but the loss will always be felt. The shade will always be missed and anything new planted in its place will be a pale imitation of what was.

But the garden continues to grow.  Where shade plants were dominant, daisies and poppies and other lovely flowers will now bloom.  A new path can be added. Old beds can be expanded. Slowly, time will let a different but beautiful garden develop in the new conditions.  We can't and won't forget the old but we have to allow the new one to grow.  Slowly, carefully.  The hard part is being patient and brave enough to mourn the loss of what was while walking through the slow changes of what can and will be.

Only the Master Gardener can be the guide to do that.

Next:  April 

your comments

comments powered by Disqus