Several weeks ago, I asked myself the same question that every gardener seems to ask him or herself each time the seasons change from one to another. And as I looked out the back window at our patio, I was forced to admit that things didn’t look so great. Our multi-year drought, mischievous dogs, and several windstorms over winter had left our yard in very rough shape. Our shrubs were in disarray, most of last year’s plantings were dead, and dirt from our two large dogs’ various excavations was scattered all over the patio and its connecting walkway.
Inspired to action by the arrival of Spring and the sudden sprouting of new leaves and blossoms, I developed hasty plans to fence off several areas and plant new gardens in the protected spaces. The design was such that it provided ample areas for me to plant, yet spaces remained for the dogs to run, chase squirrels, and even dig if they felt inclined to do so (and I’ve no doubt they will).
I spent several weekends sinking redwood posts in concrete, stapling rolls of wire fencing material to them, and hauling home sacks of manure, compost, mulch, and stone. I arranged rocks, tilled soil, and removed last year’s spent plantings and debris—all in preparation for this year’s fresh new growth. Finally, after much effort, I was ready to plant! I took several trips to nearby nurseries, where I picked out a wonderful variety of flowering plants, bulbs, and seeds. I spent the better part of three afternoons working barefoot and bare-handed in the warm sunshine, planting and arranging, arranging and planting. As each phase of my plan unfolded, I’d sit back to study the bare patches of earth for a moment, dig an appropriately-sized hole in just the right spot, and gently tuck each infant plant or seedling in its new home. Once everything had been carefully set in place, I watered the entire garden with a gentle shower from the hose.
With my work done for the day and for the most difficult part of the project complete, I sat down with a cold drink to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells around me. Birds flitted busily about, wind chimes tinkled gently in the tree above, and I breathed in the heady aromas of damp earth and flowers blooming. The new plantings seemed small and tentative in their new spaces, but I could quite easily see their potential for a brilliant future—and I imagined and intended for it to be exactly that.
In many ways, I mused, our lives are just like gardens. We imagine them. We work hard to prepare a place for them, carefully plant seeds of thought and deed, and shower them with our Love and attention. In the end, the condition of our garden is a living reflection of all the care and energy we devote to it. To be sure, there’s always some pruning to do, a weed to be pulled here and there, or a dog to be shooed away, but with proper care, our reward can be a glowing, vibrant oasis of beauty, joy, and peace.
Silly me. As I was lost in thought about gardens and life, I was interrupted by a slight commotion behind me. I turned to see that one of my dogs had squeezed through a small gap in the fence and was sniffing about, exploring one of my new garden beds. Leave it to her to figure out a way around my defenses! Fortunately, I intercepted her and fixed the trouble spot before any significant damage was done. I suppose it just goes to show that even the best laid plans aren’t always foolproof—or, in my case, dog-proof.
Since Spring is here, now is the perfect time for each of us to create new growth and constructive change in our lives and, indeed, in our world. All it takes is a bit of inspiration, some dedicated effort, and some tender, loving, care.
Now that Spring is here, it’s a great time to ask ourselves that age-old gardener’s question—”How does your garden grow?”
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