Gardening, Intention and Neglect

Jon and Zip with bouquets of flowers from the gardens.

Despite the heat, I did a lot of gardening yesterday, and Jon who isn’t supposed to be out in it at all, took a lot of photographs of his flowers.

Sometimes he sat in the shade on the back porch photographing a bouquet of flowers, but he was also at his raised bed gardens, rearranging the plants and taking their pictures.

The poet Jane Kenyon said that keeping a garden is like writing poetry.  With poetry you move words around with gardens you move plants.

My day began when I took five or six Calendula from Jon’s raised beds and planted them in the emerging garden on the south side of my studio.  I’ve heard they are good at reseeding so thought it the perfect place for them.

The garden in front of my studio

To make room, I dug up a big clump of Chives.  I needed them closer to the house anyway so I can get to them more easily.

I put half in my Back Porch Garden and planted half in the front lawn.

The front door

While we were working, our handyman Dan was at the farm looking at some repairs that need to be done to the barn and house.

When we got to the front of the house where the stair panels on either side of the steps are rotting away I saw the tall grasses growing around the flower bed and up  through the broken cement as if I were seeing it for the first time.

I love what is happening with our unmowed front lawn, but for me there is a difference between intention and neglect.  And the front of the house looked neglected.

I knew what it needed and it was simple.

So this morning I got out my  lawn mower and mowed a path along the edge of the flowerbed in front of the porch.  I mowed under the lilacs and made a path through the front lawn.

Now it’s a wildflower walk.

I also cut the lilacs and maple branches that were growing into the walkway that goes from the porch to the mailbox.  I wouldn’t mind  the lilacs arching over the path, don’t want them obscuring it.

Then I pulled up everything that was growing through the broken cement except the lily.  Once again intention, not neglect.

After that I focused on another neglected spot by my shade garden.  I cut and pulled the vines and sticker bushes that were growing between the stone wall and pasture fence.

Kim and Robin eating the lilac branches that I pruned

When Jon and I heard it was going to be another hot weekend, we talked about going to a museum to keep cool.  But what we both really wanted to do was enjoy being home and doing some work in the gardens.

After we finished, Jon went in the house to cool off in the air conditioning, and I sat on the back porch.

Zip tried to climb on my stomach, but I gently pushed him away and he settled next to me on the wicker bench. I read about Eilis trying on a bathing suit in Colin Toibin’s novel Brooklyn, dozed and watched the clouds gather over the Green Mountains.

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