The Suitcase Lady


September 18, 2012, 10:48 pm

We are beginning to get a glimmer of understanding about gardening. Nature does most of the work and we are not in control. We do, however, have a role to play. For lack of a better word, we are tweekers.

Our gardening vision is of a large meadow with bird and butterfly welcoming plants, many of which are native species. Milkweeds, black-eyed susans, jewelweed and many others are volunteers, they plant themselves. We’ve added cone and compass plants, rose mallow, lobelia, bee balm,  prairie smoke, catmint, joe pye, anemones and asters to the mix.

Here’s the catch: we never know what is going to pop up from year to year. And here is where the tweeking comes in. We’ve learned not to let any one plant take over. Four hundred milkweed plants is probably more than we need, so I pull those that threaten to overrun the cone flowers. Queen Anne’s lace asserts herself as well, exactly like a real queen. We try to keep a delicate sprinkling of it, not a dowry. We are learning about biological diversity in the field.

Our first rule of gardening is to enjoy what nature and we have created every day and every season. We never look at our meadow and see work that needs doing…we see loveliness.

Paul Horgan, an eloquent writer and historian, offers this insight in his slim volume of stories, The Return of the Weed:

“Life runs inconstant, in a rhythm of change, tending toward growth.”

Click here to watch our garden unfold.

(Thanks to the Purple Martins for the music.)

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