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Monday, May 24, 2010

Slow Day

Due to a consistent patch of high temperatures predicted over the next few days; the weekend morphed into a marathon of planting--tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano and thyme into planters and window boxes, impatience, snapdragons and cleome between the shaggy new growth spurting throughout rock gardens.

After seventeen years, our primary perennial bed explodes each spring, by late May it looks like a huge, curly head, bushy with cowlicks--in need of a thorough trim. I purchase half as many flowering annuals for between-bloom color than I used to, but dividing the sun drops, coreopsis and bell flowers that multiply exponentially in addition to repositioning furry Foxgloves that seed themselves everywhere, adds heft to the task. In truth, it would be easy work on a flat lot--if we had one.

The boulders that heave and wallow through our land give the property a character that I love. But a few times a year, intensive afternoons climbing from ledge to ledge, balancing on the rare flat stones and hoping my ankles don’t give way, ratchets up the stiffness quotient. Today the simple act of unscrewing a bottle top hurts my knuckles after the hours of weeding, yet it’s the kind of ache that reflects success.

Digging holes and packing soil around seedlings, filling pots, planting herbs and vegetables--these are concrete actions--jobs with results that bloom recognizable and defined; the garden beds are clear, the plants relocated; annual seedlings emerge like coltish teenagers from the rich, moist earth. Now that the weekend is over though, I’m back to justifying my existence via less visible successes--words that germinate, but for the moment live underground.

Monday through Friday are my work days and in that regard, my worry days. Yes, I have a portfolio with new additions, but as when my garden was in its infancy, there is space for so much more. All those years ago, when we cleared the scrub from the earth and I began positioning perennials, the blooms were sparse, with wide gaps in between. Similar to my infant business that I fret over five days a week, the advances seemed intangible. Back then, we held our breath, hoping that the fertilizer would work, that the seeds would spread, just as now I cultivate my networking message through lengthening roots, crossing my fingers that an interested customer will pluck it from the soil.

When I started reinventing the back ledge, it was nothing but weeds and grass and thorny nettles. Patience and persistence brought it to the unruly but burgeoning place it is today--a location in which accomplishment exists someplace other than my imagination.

The back garden is testimony that once before I started with nothing, a reminder that these words I am tending could grow and reproduce like our rock-strewn land did, as long as I put in the effort.

This garden needs a hair cut.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You have more ambition than I do!

Sharon said...

I'm exhausted just reading this. Whew! But oh it is so worth it.

Helen Ginger said...

How beautiful! That's truly amazing.

I'm always proud of an accomplishment when I've had a hand in the work. so I know your proud - and exhausted!

Straight From Hel

Andria said...

Oh, I love your metaphor here! Curly, bushy-headed garden! I'd love to see more pictures.

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Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh, I like the overgrown garden. It looks like a place fairies might hang out (or me, for instance) ;)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Wow! I wish I had your green thumb. At least things are growing.

Jody Hedlund said...

Love this analogy, Liza! It really does take time and back-breaking effort to bring our writing to a point where it's truly blossoming and thriving. We just can't expect it to happen without sweat and dirty fingers!