How a garden grows
An ecosystem in the making
One of the yards we use to visit with our bee keeping teacher use to be a home with a garden. It is now just a shed,a clothes line and many beehives The house is long gone. The thing that marvels me about this place is the garden that still exists after many many years. We first visited this bee yard about 10 years ago and since then I have watched seasonal changes with roses flowering, magnolias blooming and fruit trees blossoming. Of course there is long grass that needs cutting back every once and a while but it’s the little things that have remained that I find fascinating. Seeing bearded irises return year after year and wondering if I could sneakily take one (I didn’t). I am amazed that these plants stayed. That things that we view as delicate plants are stubbornly still growing, despite the neglect. I love that the bones of the garden have stayed. There are ghosts in this garden and I do wonder what stories they would tell.
“If you become obsessed with the beauty of your garden, it can consume you. I wanted a garden that, if I wasn’t around anymore, wasn’t a nightmare for the children. I don’t want them to think, “That’s mum’s garden and it should remain the same.” I always say to them, “ I’m enjoying my garden during my life; after my death I don’t care.” Anyway, I think the garden has an ecosystem now where it could probably look after itself.”
Sophie Bouilhet-Dumas, Rakesprogress Magazine, Issue 15
And then I wonder about the owners of this bee yard garden. Did they cherish the garden as I cherish mine? Was it a creative outlet or simply a chore? Was there a veggie patch? Did they bottle the fruit? Or was it all just a tick on the to do list? I often wonder about garden owners as I walk about the valley. There is the house down the road from us - an old wooden villa with a roof that has iron stains on it. It is painted muted tones and the grass is as tall as the fence and gate that surround the section. Here to are garden secrets, ghosts of previous owners who no longer tend the lawn. Or who is the person who lives in a most forgotten house on our dog walking route. The house has the more than a whisper of decay and neglect but every so often the little flower bed at the entrance to the house that runs along the property is weeded and tided up so that the little flowers that try so hard to grow have a chance to breath.
The reason I am amazed by the presence of a garden bones is I always feel like I am on the cusp of losing control of my garden at times. There are roses that I know are bordering on taking over. The wisteria is a brute with waving tentacles and the wild sweet pea that I thought was cute when we first moved in is now the bane of my life. I manage the garden but I do let things waft which convantantly block out the view of the neighbours. I pull out the sweet pea when I see it. I do, however, wonder what the garden would look like in 10 years time if it was left to be whatever it wanted to be. Would the self seeders that riot in the old vegetable patch still stand tall? Would it just be a mass of roses? Could you see the lawn? Would it be a different kind of haven? Part of me wants to let it go and see what happens, the curious side of me. The other part, more sensible knows this is not the best course of action and then returns to the weeding or maybe I could just let a little corner go….
Next week volume two of Haven: a place to grow is released. Haven is my paid newsletter where I explore my garden and how I capture it with my camera. Wisdom is the theme of the next newsletter, so I ask when did you last celebrate your wisdom? Sign up if you wish to embrace your wisdom and be part of this journey with me.