Thursday, May 17, 2007

How Does Your Garden Grow?

As I was walking through my neighborhood last night, I wondered if I could divine anything about the people who lived in the houses by studying their yards and gardens. Some things were very obvious like the yard littered with children’s toys. That, of course, told me that children lived there, and based on they types of toys, I could usually figure out if the children were boys, girls or both. I especially liked the toy-littered yards that had a small, riotous patch of flowers. I imagined the parents of the children wanted primarily to see their children’s minds and souls blooming, but at the same time wanted to share the blooms of nature with them.

The yards which were immaculately groomed – walkways edged, grass precisely mown, hedges all uniformly level – I imagined to be the yards of retired couples, people who had both the time to attend to their yards and the inclination to continue contributing to something growing since their children’s growing had taken them to homes of their own.

I then passed a yard that was nicely groomed but which still had a few weeds and untrimmed hedges erupting into colorful blooms of questionable heritage. That, I believed, was the yard of a single person or a young, childless couple. These were people practicing their nurturing skills with Mother Nature but who still found the time for dating, socializing, and people-hunting.

The very beautiful yard I passed next seemed planned out to the tiniest detail. All the flowers were white. They were planted to best show their full grandeur, and the regimentation of their placement made me imagine that everything in the homeowners life was just as rigid and controlled.

Then came my yard. I slowed my walk as I approached my yard and tried to conceive what others might perceive. My lawn, while taken care of, is not perfect. The beautiful green color comes more from weeds than actual grass, but my oldest son keeps those weeds nicely mown. I have several mulched areas (more mulch means less grass mowing) in which I plant. I like bushes and shrubs that are more free-flowing than precisely shaped (forsythia, for example). I like having flowers, trees and bushes that bloom at various times during the warm weather thus offering an ongoing display of color. And, I like lots of color. I am not a person who spends too much time making sure my flowers color coordinate. I have purples, pinks, reds, whites, yellows and many shades of green. My flowers also come in many different textures. I actually did plan that part of it.

My yard reflects my life. I revel in diversity – many colors, shapes and textures. Ashley has taught me the joy of difference, and the rest of my children have taught me the value of nurturing those differences. I hope anytime someone passes my house and yard they will pause to consider how beautiful diversity can be.


Attila The Mom said...

What a beautiful post!! Our growing season is so damn short up here in the mountains that I can't have any of the plants I adore---lilacs, roses, etc.

The only thing that lasts for the season is the annuals planted in the pots. [sigh]

I need a greenhouse. LOL

Allie said...

What a beautiful post Deborah.

My yard this year is a reflection certainly of my son. I let him pick out all of the flowers and help plant them. They don't match, are a wide variety of colour and are accompanied by lots of animated friends such as bright clay worms, butterfly and bee stakes. Does it match our neighborhood? Nope. But the most important thing is that my son loves it and wants to be such a part of taking care of it.

Ashley's Mom said...

Thank you both for the sweet comments. I really love gardening and watching things grow and bloom. But my favorite is the vegetable garden. I can't wait for the cucumbers and tomatoes!