Friday, June 21, 2013

Dare To be A Free-Form Gardener

Being a bit of an Anglophile, I have always dreamed of a cottage (thatched roof, of course) with a proper English garden in the front--a profusion of blues, pinks, and yellows; a constant source of blooms for vases; a haven for butterflies and hummingbirds.

After a year living in tiny rental following a divorce, I purchased a small home for my family a year ago.  Alas,  it is an early 1980's two-story with a walk-out basement painted in a garish pumpkin brown, but with true garden potential.  Last fall I had the "planned" plantings stripped out of the front and laid the earth bare for my dream.  Alan, the landscaper suggested by Eydie not so much for his expertise in edging and weed barriers, but because he had a darling mop of sandy curls flecked with grey and admirable muscle definition, came by and gave advice on proper soil preparation and drainage. I must admit that I tuned out the soil prep suggestions as I imagined Alan a worthy stand in for Pa behind that plow.

During the cold of a Wisconsin winter, I purchased gardening books and catalogs.  I drew up detailed plans on graph paper.  I pondered over zones, soil conditions, sunlight and shade.  I waited until the first hint of spring to dash to my local nursery with plan in hand and permission to spend a shit-load of cash on perennials.

That is where things fell apart.  I fell under a spell.  I wandered down paths and aisles of blooms, touching and smelling each blossom.  I lost my graphed plan in the irises.  Anything that touched my fancy ended up in my cart.  When I got home, I saved all of the tiny plastic stakes that held the secret of what I had bought with the idea that I would reconstruct my garden map...but then one of my daughters tossed the stakes in the recycling.  I didn't care.

I have made many more trips to the nursery.  Now I throw the identifying stakes away immediately.  I look for bare spots.  I plant by whim.  I may have shorts behind talls.  I may have pinks by pinks.  Only time will reveal the secret of this garden.

I am a control freak.  I have always been a rule follower.  There has always been a master plan.  This time, however, and perhaps for many times in the future, I have stopped worrying about the end product and have reveled in the process.

"It's a secret garden," said Mary, "and I am the only one who wants it to be alive."                                                                                                                
The Secret Garden   Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sharon (aka Miss Tetley)

I haven't forgotten Friday's beauty tip!  Did you know that raw honey has natural antiseptic and moisturizing qualities?  I wash my face daily with equal parts Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Scrub, 4.2 Ounce and raw honey. Rinse well, otherwise you will tend to attract bees or a prairie plague of locust.

1 comment:

  1. Love your writing! Reminds me of what a good friend you are, even if we don't get to see much of each other at this point. Garden away, Sharon! I'm going to find a way to detour by and take a look soon. While on forced bed-rest for four months before the twins were born, I told the control freak in me, "thank you very much, you've been very helpful but I can't use your services anymore." Life has been better every since, as I hope it is for you.... :)