Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
This spring I asked myself, “how does my garden grow?” What to do about my mostly scraggly and very visible flower garden bordering the sidewalk coming up to my front door? The garden plot is quite large and has tall feather grass and lots of white hydrangeas in rows at the back with iris, Echinacea, sedum, bee balm and native prairie grasses lined up in front. Also, there’s a connected section on the side of my detached garage with a huge patch of Russian sage. All of this was quite lovely when it was put in about 10 years ago-but now, despite my best (well, pretty good anyway) efforts, it’s become overgrown and weedy with invasive species and lawn grasses. Also, some of the plants have died out altogether, not surviving the cold winters (though supposedly hardy in this zone) or excessive water falling right under the garage eaves or the ravenous appetites of local deer and rabbits. And because my house is at the top of a gentle ridge I get lots of not so gentle winds. So, you get the picture and the need for the “what to do” question.
Well, for the last 4-5 years I’ve weeded and mulched and re-planted and patched up and managed to hold up a semblance of what once was. But this year it seemed even beyond my humble efforts-not to mention neglect. So, I decided to ask for help-and actually pay someone who knows what could be done to restore my garden to its former splendor! By happenstance I ran into a former student of mine who is in the gardening business and before I knew it I’d asked her for a consultation and a plan-and before the ink was dry on our contract she’d been here to dig out, thin, weed, transplant and newly plant. Now, voila! I have a partially restored garden–though my helper is not finished (too many graduations this month) and for my part, I have barely just begun! After even more cleaning out and new planting will come the big bags of mulch to keep those pernicious weeds from overcoming the potential vigor and beauty of the flowers and grasses.
So, by now, I’m sure you have the metaphor in mind. What to do about the garden of our lives? Don’t we too need to be aware and awake to where the weeds are, to what needs rooting out and what is best to newly plant-given the conditions of our place in time? For the last few years, due to some personal neglect and/or ignorance and external forces like weather and animals my literal garden has merely survived-straggly and unhealthy-and not thrived! I’ve not really paid the time and attention that was its due-and am now paying the cost. I don’t want to be doing that with my life too! Consequently, here are five questions to jump start you and me into the summer of our lives!
- What is the “soil” of your life like? Have the nutrients been used up? How do you feel about your overall health and well-being?
- Since your body is your “ticket” for being an Earthling, how are you caring for it? What and how do you need to replenish and nourish it?
- What needs rooting out in your life? What weeds are choking you up and preventing your spirit from flourishing? Where do you especially need to pay attention?
- What new seeds do you want to plant? What new activities or practices do you want to begin or renew?
- What do you want and expect to harvest? What do you hope for in the next year?
Nancy, Nancy, plain not fancy,
How does your garden grow?
With light and shade and attention paid
All present in the now!