Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Abundance in spite of neglect

This spring, mild temperatures, good, gentle rain, and plenty of sunshine have all made my garden thrive, despite the casual neglect I give it. I must also thank Marcielo, our gardener, or what in my old Seattle neighborhood we'd call a "yard man."

Marcielo is probably a better gardener than I am, but since I work during the week, I am hardly ever present when he and his crew come to work. We don't get much time to talk. He is good about anticipating what needs to be done so that he can ask me about it in advance. In a perfect world, we'd have lots of garden talk, and we'd work together, but I've gotten lazy and leave it all to him.

Click to "embiggen"
Even so, things are looking beautiful this spring. Here's the back sunken patio and the steps. Never mind the weedy beds - look at those gorgeous irises! Look at those roses!

Though Marcielo pruned some of the overgrown vines away this autumn, the pergola is starting to lean ever so slightly as the thick ivy tendrils weigh it down. Should we get someone in to right it now or wait and watch it go over all the way?

Here a pink Austin rose blooms beside the deck - look how the timbers need painting!

In the front yard, it's time to take out the overgrown ivy and replace it with some native California groundcover. See how it's swamping this beautiful jewel-like Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris?

We need to rescue it.

Here's a better look.

This blue-flowered version looks wonderful sprawling across the pale buff stone of the walkway - but I really should trim it back!

The roses and the lemon tree are almost bursting with abundance, surrounded by the weedlike Erigeron karvinskianus, or fleabane daisy, and behind, a woody, overgrown Gaura lindheimeri that needs serious pruning back.

The best way to combat weeds is probably to have garden plants that grow like weeds.

The single shrub rose "Darlow's Enigma" is one such rose.

It's amazing to me how such richness can persist with such minimal care, and in spite of my neglect. How much more beautiful would they be if I actually applied myself to the garden?

It's a larger question, isn't it?  This spring has been a time to re-assess, focus in, and rediscover. A time to burnish and shine that which is valued, and a time to cut away the dead wood. As with a rosebush, one opens the central structure of the metaphorical shrub, letting light and air reach into the center, strengthening the new growth, feeding the blossoms.

It's easy to stay comfortable, plodding alone, doing the same old things, getting by. "Digging my trench," says [The Man I Love], likening the daily routine to one treading the same path, over and over, day to day, until your feet have truly worn an ever-deepening trench whose walls become too high to see beyond.

I'm trying a few things to shake it up. Some easy, others hard. Some fun, others not so fun. Some of my choosing, some I'd never wish at all.

This weekend, I'm going to visit an old friend I haven't seen in a long time. My trip is long overdue.

It's not going to be a fun visit - she is dying. I am not sure whether it's she who needs me or whether it's me who need her, but I am coming. It's to say goodbye, and to regret not having come before, when she was not so ill. I'm thinking about the messy abundance of our lives - hers and mine - and how our friendship has still persisted, despite our neglect of it.


Anonymous said...

A lot going on in this post. Your flowers are lovely. There is a weedy plant, I think it's called datura, with big white trumpet flowers; I'm trying to find some for my tree lawn. Maybe the Payne people have some.
I am sorry about your friend. Have your visit. Jenny

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm glad you are taking the time to go and visit with your friend.
Your garden looks beautiful! I imagine that it smells terrific, too.

smalltownme said...

I love your garden. I've got the ivy issue too. Someone thought it was a good way to keep down weeds. Which it does, but it covers everything else too.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. Like plants, relationships with a good foundation of love and care will survive even though a bit ignored at times.
An old friend is the best kind and the hardest to let go. Enjoy your time together and don't worry about the past or the future, just the here and now.


Mrs. G. said...

To me, you are showing up when it really matters.

Your yard looks lovely. See you in a few.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

You are such a lovely writer. I always love your garden posts but this one was especially moving. I hope you had a good visit with your dear friend and can find comfort in that.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Oh, and those iris are amazing!

Jen on the Edge said...

Your roses are stunning. I am a little bit envious.