Monday, March 14, 2011

The First Step is Always Hardest

When Mike and I built the house that we’re in now, I was trembling with excitement in anticipation of the first spring. I had acres of land to create lush, colorful perennial gardens. Lots and lots of them!
Coming Soon to a Garden Near You!
©2011Grey Silk Butterfly by Mike Deuel

Seven years later and I’m looking forward to spring in the gardens again. But, with an entirely different goal in mind. Actually, the complete opposite: how to reduce the gardens. Or, at least the amount of work that goes into them.

For most people, this wouldn’t be an issue, but I have a horrible time destroying anything living. I’m the one in the office that caught the spiders and brought them outside so that they might live. Though I don’t think I was being overly kind when the temperatures were very cold. I just couldn’t squash them.

This same mentality holds true for plants as well. I’ve finally gotten hardened against weeds- that was quite tough, in all honesty. What had they done to deserve to die? Now an entire garden? Yikes! I feel sick now just thinking about it. However, it has to be done.

Brrr...Poor Spiders!
©2011 Niagara-on-the-Lake #2 by Mike Deuel

Part of the problem with this particular garden is that I had no idea just how dry and windy it would be in that spot. I knew it was extremely sunny, but had no clue about the almost constant drought conditions. Unfortunately, those determined weeds don’t mind being parched all summer.

Over the years, though, I’ve kept track, even if just in my mind, of which plants have done well and which ones were duds. And, the goal, as mentioned in an earlier blog, is to create a garden that will choke out the weeds as much as possible. I refuse to spend all of the gardening season pulling those suckers! Again….!

A few years ago, I’d seen a book I wanted to get called The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. I found it at the library (good, ol’ public library!) and it has the best listing I’ve encountered to date for plants. The listings detail good vs. bad versions of the plant, as well as how it does in real conditions. You know, like wind and sun. Between experience and this great guide, I should be able to rejuvenate this beloved flowerbed.

Wash Away the Old...
©2011Watkins Glen #1 by Mike Deuel

The sad part, though, is that the entire garden will have to go first. I dread having to do that in any aspect of my life. But, the reality is that it must be done constantly if things are to become reinvigorated and invited to grow again.

Sometimes, something will come to light about someone you’ve loved that damages your entire relationship with them. There are times that all you can do is toss the whole mess away. And then there are times that if you brush the debris away, you can rebuild the relationship. Just on a different foundation.

Other times, it’s turning your back on a good thing in your life, because you need to move onto something even better. I was presented with this dilemma this week. As I’ve mentioned, I have a good job with a good boss, which has opened up so many new avenues in my life. This weekend, I was offered an equally good job that also improves the financials.

With time, and resolution, the feelings caused by the creating of a new, clean slate- sadness, regret, even fear- fade. They are overtaken by the joy of newer and stronger creations of your making. It seems like the efforts involved with this type of change can be overwhelming, the rewards can also be just as (beautifully) overwhelming.

...Sweep in the New
©2011 Charlotte Pier by Mike Deuel


  1. All is change.

    I had a hard time yanking weeds too. Now I bless them (you can do it at the end of any gardening day, or beginning: "Thank you for your life. Contribute to the cycle ...")

    Have a fun and fantastic time re-setting your gardens. A few years ago, I finally stopped. Mine were proving too much, too. Irene Virag, the Newsday gardening columnist for so long, once wrote something about just enjoying the sights and blurring out the imperfections. It brought back the reason for gardens to begin with.

    Great way to live life too.

    I continue to eagerly read this blog. Your perceptions are wonderful!

  2. When I was in the 4th grade and I had just moved to the wild suburbs of LI, I met this fellow "sensitive soul". It's been all analysis ever since!

    You couldn't be more right, Joan. Life is much better once you accept and maybe even celebrate it's imperfections.

    Even friends who mix up their holidays = )

    Hearts galore! Barb

  3. "The First Noel, the angels did say
    'Tis the time to make gardens that grant time to play ..."


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