Strawberry pots at the nursery.

When the world wearies,

and society ceases to satisfy,

There is always the garden.

-Minnie Aumonier


I spent much of the day yesterday in my garden. It was a perfect day to be outside. Warm and sunny, but not too hot. And windless, which was a blessing.

I’ve become somewhat of a fair weather gardener, and yesterday was just what my soul needed.

I’ve also been sorting through old bits of writing that I’ve done over the years, and came upon this short essay I’d written at least ten years ago for an altered book exchange I’d participated in called Places in the Heart.

I’m sharing it with you today because I have gardening on the brain. Once I start digging out from winter, I become nearly obsessed with reconnecting with my old plant friends.

Here’s the essay:

Mine is a spring garden. That’s when the roses begin to tumble over the fence in pinkish blooms and the salvia stand up straight and tall like purple soldiers announcing the change of seasons. Cheery yellow blossoms from the basket of gold spill over the rock wall like sea foam. Everything is green and new and bursting with life.

Tender shoots of perennials long ago planted, push through the newly warmed soil, eager to show their faces to the returning sun. They are dear friends, coming to spend their summer with me. I am sometimes tempted to tug on them just the tiniest bit to assist their passage, because I’ve missed them so. But I know that I must live by a rhythm that has been playing long before I first began to notice. I do wonder though how my old friends have fared.

I long to see the creamy apricot day lilies whose jubilant faces greet each morning anew. Theirs is a lesson that every day is a new beginning. And the buttery yellow moonbeam coreopsis, perky and bright, as if announcing, “I’m here world!”

I’m eager to once again see the dramatic spikes of yellow, red and purplish-blue from the graceful lupine. And beside them, their friends the stately delphinium, silent guardians who keep watch over the garden. Mounds of hot pink dianthus wait in the wings, ready to put on their brilliant show of color. And of course, there are the blue flax, red hot poker, purple asters, pink baby’s breath, vinca and phlox, all waiting to make their dramatic appearances.

After a long winter of brown landscape, crackling leave and barren stalks, the fresh green is intoxicating and I want to drink it in until I can drink no more.

I spend my spring days as a midwife, thrusting my hands into the rich, brown soil, easing the return of my old friends. I pinch leaves, loosen soil, clear away the debris of winter, offer food and water, and wait.



You may not be a gardener, but in any case, I hope you are enjoying the return of spring.

Isn’t it magnificent?