Is a garden of joy. The best garden I can have is a friendship garden…one of shared plants. I didn’t know that before I moved to North Carolina four years ago, but I certainly know it now.
My yard was pretty much a blank canvas. That was unusual for an over-fifty-year-old house, but my realtor had advised the previous owner to tear out the old, scraggly, uncared for plantings around the house itself, and he did. The other garden areas were so neglected that they were ivy and debris covered messes. If there had ever been any garden areas in the yard, they no longer existed, and were just mowed along with the grass.
One of my first yard tasks was to clean out an area behind the house that was literally knee-deep with ivy, sticks, and dead leaves. What I found under all that was a small Eden. I uncovered azaleas and peonies that were nearly choked out, a beautiful granite curbing, and some really nice nandina and mahonia. There was a weeping cherry tree, a redbud tree, and a baby magnolia.
Next, I staked out a huge oval around the dogwood and another tree I still-don’t-know-the-name-of in my front yard. I put down the weed deterrent, outlined it with bricks that were piled up around the place, and made what we down here ironically call a “natural area.” I cleaned out the strip between my wooden fence and driveway, and planted some sunflowers, morning glories, a trumpet vine, and some herbs. I put in some miniature holly and a few nandina under my front picture window, and one of my sisters came down from Wisconsin to help and teach me how to create two other “natural areas” at each side of the front entrance.
As I made new friends, I gravitated toward those who shared an interest of gardening. As with gardeners everywhere, there are times when things get out of control, and plantings need to be thinned. My Lake “seestah” piled the back of my car with cuttings and “dug-ups.” My sisters from the north sent me home with some of my longed-for favorites. I was the eager recipient of daisies, day lilies, coneflowers, forsythia, a gardenia, hibiscus, ginger, bleeding hearts, columbine, irises, ferns, lilies of the valley, hostas, Solomon’s seal, Lenten roses, and black-eyed Susan seeds. There are others of which I do not even know the names, but love equally.
Today, as I walked around doing battle with violets and wisteria, I marveled at my friendship garden. It has only been four years, but things are looking pretty full. When I see a flower first bloom, I gasp with surprise. Who knew that such pleasure would result in just sharing some seeds or cuttings or separated plants? I do. Now.