Thursday, 20 March 2014

Dreaming of My Spring Garden



The first time I was irked by something being trendy was about fifteen or twenty years ago.  I was an avid gardener at the time and had grown up with grandparents and parents who were also avid gardeners.  I didn't have any interest in gardening as a child, though I loved the garden environment.  I was too busy playing my imaginative games where patches of moss, half a walnut shell and a silky rose petal made a bedroom for a fairy.  Or gathering up fallen rose petals and soaking them in water to make some sort of murky looking perfume.  But when I grew up and had my own home and my own plot of land, I was immediately focused on filling it up with trees and shrubs and flowers and gardening became my passion.  Not long after that, gardening also became trendy.  For me it was a an artistic pursuit as well as the love of being outside with the soil and the insects and the birds.  I could lose ten hours a day in the garden during peak gardening season.  I spent all my spare money on plants and was given trees, rose bushes or perennials for birthdays and Christmases.  I had plants that had once been in my grandmother's garden or my great aunt's garden.  I spent winter scouring gardening books and magazines and deciding which were the next varieties of rhododendron or rose or peony I hoped to add.  I went shopping for specifically named plants, never just any old pink peony.  I moved things around my garden constantly, attempting to achieve exactly the look I wanted with colour and foliage texture.

But my chronic illness and my troubled marriage were both conspiring to take my garden away from me.  I reached a point where I could no longer look after the garden I had created.  When my marriage fell apart and I left, my ex husband retained our family home and my garden.  He doesn't have the time for it, although he always did love its presence.  It is falling apart now and I don't know if his new partner will want to restore it.  I hope she does.  I like her.  I wish I could walk through the garden with her and tell her the stories behind the different plants, why I chose them or who they came from.  Spring is the time when I miss my garden most.  Right about now I would be out walking around the garden to see what was coming up, or sitting in the window looking out at it.  This time of year is full of the promise of abundant flower and foliage to come and I would look forward to each plant reaching its peak in the same way one looks forward to greeting a friend.  I would also be thinking to myself, that plant really would look better if it were moved two feet to the left.

When I sat down to write this post, I was going to rant about trends that irk me.  Don't worry, I'm sure that will come.  But the garden wanted to be written about today.  This post wrote itself.  I don't have many photos of my old garden, but I do have some I took in my parents' garden about a year or so ago.  I will leave you with some of those today. 

7 comments:

  1. You are such a beautiful writer! I also don't go with "the plan" when I write - some of best writing comes naturally (like everything else in life). It must be so wonderful to grow up with avid gardeners, I am sure that it shapes you as a person. Especially here in the PNW (or what you guys call this region?) where almost everything grows so beautifully... I love visiting gardens. My mom is an avid gardener, though it's not the same in Siberia. :) I went nuts with container gardening once - just like you, we spent all the spare money on plants, soil and pots. I too was endlessly changing my arrangements. I totally understand about moving plants just a few inches for the look you need. :) I still have quite a library at home with all sorts of books... I read some and still enjoy the photographs, and I think that some day I will return to this hobby. I don't think that a big garden is something I can do, but container gardening seems like just my cup of tea.
    The photographs of your parents' garden are beautiful! Thank you for such a wonderful post!

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    1. You are going to give me a swelled head! To answer your question, we call your regions the PNW because that's what you call it and of course that tends to identify it as being the US because not much gets said about Canada's pacific northwest. In Canada we refer to 'the island' the lower-mainland' and 'the sunshine coast' for most of the populated areas of southwestern BC. Of course there are many islands but since Vancouver Island is the largest it is usually what is meant by 'the island' though I suspect a few of the other islands also call themselves that. Somehow we all figure it out.
      Thanks for being such a sweet supporter of my blog, for visiting and commenting so frequently!
      xo

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  2. Ah, I feel a real sadness and regret that you no longer have your beautiful garden to enjoy, Shawna. You clearly have such a passion for it. The photos of your parents' garden are lovely, they obviously still work hard on cultivating a beautiful outside space, and I am pleased you get to spend time there.
    Blog posts sometimes just write themselves, don't they? Start off as one thing, end up as another - but that's fine! xxx

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    1. I didn't mean to make anyone sad, but it's true it has been a very significant event for me, losing my garden. You are right though, my parents have a beautiful garden and I can spend as much time there as I like. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
      xo

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  3. Just beautiful! I hope you still enjoy your parents' garden even though you no longer have your own.

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  4. my grandparents had gardens in my childhood. when i was living over 20 years in berlin i missed a patch of soil to work with. always had lots of houseplants and in the summer planters outside the windows - although it was forbidden.
    now i´m so happy with my little garden which is miles away from the perfection in your pictures. garden and house were overgrown like a maya temple when we bought it and because money is little i can do only a few steps every year. but it´s o.k. - it´s green and blooming and my peaceful paradise :-)

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  5. Yes, a garden is a lovely peaceful paradise. My mum would be the first to tell you her garden is hardly perfection. It does look lovely though. Being a mixed border type which is crammed with perennials it is difficult to maintain and weed. My parents will not be able to keep it up much longer.

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