Acceptance

“Show me your garden, and I shall tell you what you are.” –Alfred Austin

Kuan Yin guards the mingled weeds and flowers.

Kuan Yin guards the mingled weeds and flowers.

I’ve been haunted by this quote for years, judging myself by the contents of my own garden. Every year I start out with good intentions: This year, the garden will be as neat and orderly as those of my Amish neighbors. This year, I’ll monitor the needs of each plant and apply fertilizers in a timely manner. This year, I’ll harvest and put up a great bounty that will feed my family through winter. This year…This year…

The garden as seen from our deck

The garden as seen from our deck

And “This year” never comes. I might start out planting and weeding with commendable diligence, but by mid-July, the motivation is gone, and the plants in my garden face a Darwinian struggle for survival. My general reaction to my overgrown mess has been to berate myself while staring plaintively at the immaculate neighbors’ gardens.

This is a glimpse of an Amish garden from behind some roadside brush.

This is a glimpse of an Amish garden from behind some roadside brush.

This year, my garden is in even a worse state than usual thanks to the deluge of novelty that’s been swallowing me—on top of my new avocation as a beekeeper and my new dog, I have a new job, new car, new camera, new tablets and texting plan, and new computer. The changes in all cases were necessary, but I don’t handle novelty especially well, and the garden has suffered as a result.

The mustard meadow

The mustard meadow

Fortunately, I also have a new attitude: I will accept my messy garden. I will remember that a rampant foxtail invasion is one of the world’s smallest problems, and I will bear in mind that the only person particularly upset by the state of my garden is me.

This is the sunflower my son Sage planted; most of the others planted themselves.

This is the sunflower my son Sage planted; most of the others planted themselves.

And I will enjoy the surprises that struggle their way out of the chaos—the blooming mustard plants that transformed the garden into a meadow for a week or two, the sunflowers (mostly self-planted) that bob cheerfully in the wind, the zinnias that fought their way up to flower above the weeds.

The triumphant zinnia

The triumphant zinnia

I will accept my garden as it is.

On second thought, maybe “This year” has come after all.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. My garden tells me that many of my flowers have succumbed to the Florida sun. Begonias and impatiens, though planted in the shade, just can’t take the heat anymore. What is still blooming: the rose bush, croton, and pentas. Also thriving: two lovely plants with fancy botanical names given to me by my Southern friends after my mother passed away about a month ago.

    About your post: I’m happy to hear that you are thriving in other ways: new job, new car, new computer. Maybe Alfred Austin isn’t totally correct – ha!

  2. My garden is organised chaos and a little wild. Enough said.

  3. ME TOO…….

    Jane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: