What I’ve Learned From A Rented Garden

I am addicted, enamoured, enchanted. I am awed by. And I can not even go NEAR a garden centre, for fear of wandering out with something I can not afford. Not until spring turns to summer. I have to be thrifty, perhaps Spartan if need be, just like Grandma taught us.

Each time we create with no plan, we spark a powerful shift to feeling, intuition and sensation that puts us in an intimate relationship with self and Earth.
Doodling and The Spontaneous Art of Nature Connection, by Lisa Lipsett

And, you know, with little more than love and time, there are more worms, more birds, more everything good, and all to do with this rented garden.

Lily of the Valley, Hosta plantaginea 'Grandiflora & a golden Creeping Jenny.
Lily of the Valley, Hosta plantaginea ‘Grandiflora & a golden Creeping Jenny.

It is becoming.

Those long walks in those mysterious grey lands that surrounded us, my muse. It all has worked its magic upon me you know. Changed me. I have become more.

So, after the landlord and I chatted last month – him leaning on a shovel after just planting the 4 new ‘Emerald’ Cedars to flank the front – well, I went to town. Literally, and figuratively.

Everything that I did the last two seasons has flourished. Thrived.

But I’m letting it breathe a bit. I’m learning patience.

I’m starting to envision the property more as a whole – as one. Connecting, in its way, those other neighbour’s that I rarely see. Enhancing their days, maybe?

I hope so. I see it as giving back to the universe some of it’s lost heart. Doing something just because.

Old Ferns from the 100-year-old colony @ the Homestead.
Old Ferns from the 100-year-old colony @ the Homestead.

I’m not that altruistic. I mean, gardening is an addiction. Though, one for which I hope to NEVER recover.

I’m learning Mom, that gardens are transitory things. We don’t really own them.

Sure they change, they grow, but we don’t ‘own’ the earth, or the soil. None of us do; contrary to contracts that may say otherwise. We are all just renting space.

It felt like a piece of me had been ripped away when I left that first garden. Maybe you always miss your first.

I still walk past there sometimes, on my way to the Coves.

Most of the front gardens are gone, and the new people put in grass. But the one pyramidal Yew we bought that day is enormous, and I can just see that the Pyracantha mohave has scrambled all along that ugly green vinyl fence out back, as I had intended.

No idea how the rest looks, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Instead, I now feel blessed, and I learned a lot from it. About structure, thrift, creativity. And also the great sense of accomplishment. And the tranquillity a garden offers.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

Am still learning. I will never stop. Still exploring that sense of possession, and how it somehow diminishes some of that wild nature I’ve strived to capture. That letting go of that attachment I may have for a piece, a place, is a key to unlocking magic.

Wild Geranium - Native Species bought from a local plant sale last year.
Wild Geranium – Native Species bought from a local plant sale last year.
“For you little gardener and lover of trees, I have only a small gift. Here is set G for Galadriel, but it may stand for garden in your tongue. In this box, there is earth from my orchard, and such blessing as Galadriel has still to bestow is upon it. It will not keep you on your road, nor defend you against any peril; but if you keep it and see your home again at last, then perhaps it may reward you. Though you should find all barren and laid waste, there will be few gardens in Middle-earth that will bloom like your garden if you sprinkle this earth there. Then you may remember Galadriel, and catch a glimpse far off of Lórien, that you have seen only in our winter. For our spring and our summer are gone by, and they will never be seen on earth again save in memory.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

That this simple gift, this action has repercussions beyond just my immediate sphere. But branches out to anyone that may pass by and glance this way. As villagers and visitors to this Old South stroll these village streets, therein lies the audience, and the possible.

That’s valuable.

I am restored, in a way. By not possessing something, by seeing it for what it is, I feel more at peace within myself.

Plus, there are few ways one may imbue happiness upon another and not even meet them. That’s magic at its core.

And so I will enjoy the happy birds that chirp for Irish hair every spring to build their nests with. I supply the fodder for some of their meals, and so I get to also watch them as they flit about. I soak in the early dawn chorus of the Cardinals, as I imagine the little wormlets, the fodder of that simultaneous hermaphrodite mating I witnessed this year for the first time.

Ah, yet still I am but the apprentice and there is much to know. Do. Grow.


5 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From A Rented Garden

  1. What a beautiful and inspiring post. You made me travel back to Europe, where I am from. We are currently living in the Philippines and as much as we appreciate the weather here, there is no chance to wander in a beautiful green garden .. Thanks for the fresh air and the awesome fragrances you sent all the way to our house :)


  2. I never know how my gardens will turn out after the winters… each spring is an unopened present of plants waiting to rise above the brown leaves of fall… and I am never disappointed with the show. Every morning is different as we move from the very first tiny flowers in the grass, then the bulbs begin to wake, and the violets and forget-me-nots, and now the lilacs are doing their best to keep me from sitting indoors. The big one by the bedroom window lulls me into sleep at night and rouses me in the morning with its scent. Thank you for your musings on your garden, Paula.

    Liked by 1 person

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