Sunday, 25 May 2014

Down Memory Lane

I woke early yesterday and resisted the urge to go back to bed. With errands to run I decided to be one of those people, those early-at-the-store-as-it-opens people, not the late mover I usually am. Who knew there were so many people who were up and at it so bright and early?

My aim was to tour the garden section of the local Walmart, looking for black wrought iron trellises for my garden area. I say ‘area’ but what I really mean is the strip of garden along the side of my building, the only spot of ground that I have to play with. I know what I want, can see it clearly in my mind. I’ve even measured it off on graph paper and am trying to make my vision fit the small squares on the paper that represent my garden. I’m one step closer, which is why I was going to the garden centre. 

My garden had grown wild before I moved here last year and was full of weeds and perennials that were fighting for space. My son and daughter-in-law came on Friday and cleaned out the existing garden They took nine buckets of perennials home to plant in their country garden, not including the few samples I gave away. I wanted a clean slate, did not want to work around any of the existing plants.

The sun was shining when I left home, but it was still cool enough for a light jacket. I easily found a parking spot, grabbed a coffee at the McDonald’s inside and made my way through to the garden centre. I have to admit, first off, I am not a flower person, never have been. I like an arty garden, a space where I can be creative melding plants with man made statues, trellises, or other garden ornaments.

My vision is to create three small vignettes, one for each trellis, and each with some arty addition. I want an old wooden chair, with a basket painted to match, the basket overflowing with ivy and blooms. And I want a bird bath, with a stone statue of a bird on the ground below it. And maybe for the third trellis I’ll have a base holding a glass sphere or maybe a sundial.

For me, the plants are inconsequential; it’s the art of it that matters. It’s the decorating of it, just as it is for the patio area by my door.

My dream garden has a winding dry creek bed with lots of rock, statues, greenery, and a curved bridge so you can walk across it. I had this garden once…a couple of decades ago.

I remember digging up the garden in a winding path from the stoop where I hung my laundry, across the back of the large patio, and in front of the privacy fence that ran at right angles to the patio. It was a large ‘L’ shaped garden, with the creek made up of the smaller stones, graduating to larger rocks and then the greenery. I had a cedar in the corner, which added some height and led the eye gradually to the fence. I had poppies and lilies and other plants along the fence, and smaller plantings mixed in with the rock.

All of that I could and did do for myself. It was my vision after all and I was not a stranger to hard work or getting dirty. But to make it perfect I needed a bridge to join the patio to the yard. I needed a bridge to make it really look like a creek had ‘once upon a time’ flowed beneath it.

Now, my husband was not into the arty garden thing, and his ability to ‘see’ my vision of the garden was limited. He didn’t get why the bridge was an essential part of it. So he was not inclined to help me build it. Okay, I thought, I’ll do it myself. And I tried, I really did, but whatever I attempted was going to be amateurish, as I had no skill with a saw or hammer.

But I gave it a try, and it looked awful. The old boy had to show me how easy it was if one knew what they were doing. I got a beautiful arced bridge and my garden was complete. He could never understand my need to be creative in everything I did, and would have been shocked if I’d told him he did the same with his huge vegetable garden. All those structures he built to support vines were more than just functional, though he’d say he didn’t have a creative bone in his body.

While a dry creek bed type of garden is not in my future, I can still try for the arty aspects. But now I need help with the digging and planting. Instead of the father, I have the son, who looks so much like his Dad when he shakes his head and listens to my vision of what I want.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Oh, well.

My intent was to write about the enjoyable day I had wandering the garden centre, planning and revising my future garden. 

Instead I’ve had a trip down memory lane and a quiet little cry remembering those olden days and a man, a father, who died too young.

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