It's nearing full glory.
The perennials survived the mild winter. Most of the annual seeds planted in May sprouted and bloomed. The phlox will fill out the back when it finally blooms - if the deer don't graze off the buds again.
My entire Mother's Day was spent bringing this area back to life. Weeds were pulled, perennials added, seeds dropped in little holes, annuals planted, and all the empty spaces were mulched.
Balloon flowers pop open. Their star shape stirs my memory of the ones bordering the side walks of Lake Geneva, summer of '97. Morges, Switzerland. (Remember, Marie? The summer of chamber music, walking the countryside, and the fireworks across the lake on Bastille Day?)
Each of our children have a little garden area to call their own, but this one is all mine. I have to save something for myself. This garden is such a microcosm of me and my life.
I allow my children into this garden battlefield, but only on the little path of stepping stones, to protect both them and my flowers.
Challenged by weeds and situation, my little Eden needs some help along the way to fight the enemy intruders. I don leather gloves to pull thorny wild raspberry creeping through the gaps in the fence.
Automatic sprinklers add needed moisture, occasional fertilizing does wonders. I weed after soaking rains. I wish away the growing oaks that cast too much shade, wondering why we left them near a flower garden in the first place.
Nettles tempt me to pull them with bare hands, hoping I will forget what they really are.
Camoflouged spiders lie in wait for the next victim.
The hollyhocks envision lining the fence never come up, year after year of trying to get them to grow both from seeds and transplants. Towering hollyhocks would be so perfect here, why is this good desire never granted? Is it not to be? What am I doing wrong?
The amazing electric blue and violet of the delphiniums grow too tall and buckle under the weight of their own blossoms before I have time to stake them and preserve their performance. Their talent is prematurely snuffed out without proper support.
The zinnias I have had in past years were quite tall. This year's variety was hidden behind the phlox. We transplanted them to the front and they didn't even slump. Way to be strong, zinnias.
A pair of grey catbirds perch on the fence. They guard their nest, hidden in the tangle of weeds and conifers on the opposite side. Their grating call continues all.day.long until the sun sets and darkness pervades the evening sky. Finally, golden silence.
Thorns and blooms alike thrive before the Queen of Heaven. She watches, she waits, she asks her Son to be merciful. Grace.
I reflect on my life, and my garden. The parallels are not unnoticed.
I peer around the fence to search for the catbirds' nest and monitor the wild mess of weeds that threatens to invade this pocket of paradise I attempt to cultivate.
My otherwise wonderful neighbors do not see this view from their windows, so the weeds do not bother them. They do not know how much comes through the fence, encroaching on my little oasis of color.
My garden (on our side of the fence) is is the view I greet each morning from my second story bathroom window. The sight of it strengthens me and fills my heart with hope and gratitude.
To see color and life each morning gives me inspiration as I attempt to give my own body and soul color and life. I pray to have a better day, to be a better wife and mother, to resist the weeds that invade my space, to do my best where God has planted me - shade or sun, dry or moist, fertilized or depleted, native or not, in weedy or weeded soil.
Be the Gardener of my Soul
Spirit of the living God, be the Gardener of my soul.
For so long I have been waiting, silent and still -
experiencing a winter of the soul.
But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge.
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
until new life buds and opens and flowers.