To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ~ Audrey Hepburn
I plant my gardens because I also believe in yesterday.
There is something I love to write about, have to write about, especially this time of year. My garden! Although, I like to think of it as our garden. You would think that conversations with Babu about her parents and reading about them during the 1930s would be the best, and only, way to feel close to them. Well it’s not. The garden. That is when I feel the most connected to Babcia and Dziadziu. I’ve written about this before in this post:
Also in this post:
But I’ll also recap. They have lived in this house since 1938. I read about the day they moved in. They were both very into keeping a beautiful yard and a beautiful garden. So when I work out there, I feel them with me. I am walking where they walked and digging in soil their hands were also in. Even more than that, the trees, the bushes, the rhubarb, the lily of the valley, the rose bush, the ferns, the rhododendron. I didn’t plant those. They did. Am I am continuing to take care of them.
(Why am I so connected to my husband’s ancestors in this way? Maybe it’s because my family doesn’t have this oral history, sense of history, not even any level of permanence. I prefer my family, but I wish we had these stories and artifacts still with us the way this family does. But all of that is a story for another day.)
I had two moments of panic:
1. The lily of the valley haven’t began to grow yet. But their little pointed heads are peaking up. I’m sure they’ll show even though they have me a scare because I don’t know when they are supposed to bloom but they didn’t seem to be doing anything yet.
2. Not like the scare about the rhubarb. There is one plant remaining that I never planted. Yet it insistently comes back. Last year I planted new plants where the old ones no longer come up. Those came up fast and strong already and there was left an empty space under the flowering pear. I assumed we lost the last Rhubarb Babcia planted. I was ready to make some moves to fill the empty spot when small leaves began to appear in the soil. She’s back!
So I plant carrots in the herb bed Dziadziu cobbled together and Adam nods and tells me, that’s where they always used to be planted. A nice coincidence?
I dug compost from the heap which probably still contains peels and scraps from meals they ate.
I’m still finding unfortunately unharvested bean pods around the yard full of hard brown beans I’m sure will provide new plants and countless delicious pods. I think about how abundantly nature provides and I think about how they truly understood that.
When I am out there, in their garden, in our garden, I can’t not feel. When I am restoring and building upon what they had, I feel pride in honoring them. When I get sick of it half way through summer and I leave it to go to seed, sometimes unharvested, I feel shame, I feel I’ve let them down.
I feel both a pressure and a relief every time I’m out there. That comes from me as well as their memory. Last year, as I expanded, grew things I never grew before, my husband called me Icarus and my wax wings did, in fact, melt.
There is only one way to live it down and that it to create a paradise.
Babu always tells the story of how they would come home from work and go out into the garden skip dinner and work their little plot of land. This year I really have no excuse. As I write, the plots outside call to me.
Oh, and here is a little poem I wrote:
watching my freshly dug earth.
Cares not for lettuce.