| There’s More to a Flower Patch Than I Realized
|I must be healing because I planted flowers.
Last month I decided I wanted a flower bed in my backyard.
Something with bright cheerful flowers. The bed was already
laid out with fancy bricks lining out a section of the yard, but
it was filled with weeds, scraggly shrubs, and some weird
plants I didn’t really care for.
"Gardening is an exercise in optimism." Author Unknown
I was highly motivated to create this new garden bed. Which
is a good thing because it was a job that took a large portion
of three weekends to complete. A job requiring time that
could’ve gone to scratching a few tasks off my very long To
Do list. Important tasks that really need to be done like fixing
the hole in my bathroom ceiling, repairing the torn screen
on the screen porch before mosquito season, re-mortaring the
loose bricks on the front porch, or replacing the broken light
switch in the hallway. And, those are the easy jobs on the list.
But, NO, I wanted to plant a flower garden!
"Gardening is a mirror of the heart." Author Unknown
First I had to dig up and transplant three six-foot tall flowering
shrubs that weren’t getting enough sunlight. Then two different
ones that weren’t getting enough water. Then I dug up and
transplanted some miscellaneous perennials. This was the
easiest part because I used them to fill some holes my neighbor’s
dogs dug in the hill behind my garage (easy because I only had
to dig once). Last to be dug up were the weeds. Next, I turned
the soil, then raked out all the debris such as roots, rocks, twigs,
and leaves, plus a few lost Matchbox cars and plastic army men.
Then I relaid all the fancy bricks making the bed a little
narrower than it was before. It was finally time to plant some
"Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow."
I went to the nursery and bought some Impatiens because they
come in bright colors and grow in the shade. I have very little
sunlight in my heavily forested yard. I also picked up some pine
straw to mulch around the new plants, and a little wire fence to
keep my dog out of the flowers. Finally the job was done and
I had a flower bed with 30 plants. It doesn’t look like much yet,
but it makes me happy. I walk outside and look at it every
morning. And, if I haven’t bored you yet, I will now explain why
this is worth writing about.
"More in a garden grows than what the gardener sows."
You see, I haven’t done any gardening in over a decade. Oh,
I’ve done plenty of yard maintenance work, but I haven’t
planted anything new. I used to do a lot of gardening, but
13 years ago I found out my wife was leaving me. Gardening
was something we did together, but that wasn’t why I
stopped. I stopped gardening because I wasn’t feeling right
or good or whole. I felt empty, lost, and sad. There are loads
of logical reasons I could give for why I wasn’t gardening.
I didn’t have the time for it. I had a business to run. I had
young children to raise. I had to find a new wife... (OK, maybe
that one’s not logical).
"One who plants a garden, plants happiness."
Yeah, I thought that replacing her would bring everything back
to normal. Once I broke free of the initial staggering depression
that hit me when she left, I started searching for a new wife.
I imagine a lot of people do that. I don’t know how well it works
out for them, but for me it wasn’t happening. I came close a
couple of times, but eventually I realized I needed to work on
the reasons my marriage failed before I got married again.
“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
Alfred Austin, poet
I put some real time into learning about relationships. Including
some therapy. Once I started this journey, things started to
normalize in my life. Not enough to put any plants in the
ground! Over time I learned that in a healthy relationship both
partners feel good about themselves, respected, cared for, and
safe. I also came to understand that instead of chasing beauty,
charm, and wit; I was better off finding someone who is kind,
compassionate, giving, and joyful.
“These flowers symbolize my health.”
It’s all paying off. I’ve been gradually feeling better about myself
for some time now. And, finally enough to plant flowers. Is it
time for you to plant a garden too?
© Robert Evans Wilson, Jr.