My Dream Garden

     When I was a child, ours was not a family of “means.”  I was very aware that other kids in the neighborhood, and at school, seemed to have more than we did.  It still amazes me that I can say that not once did we go on a family vacation.  Nor did we ever eat in a restaurant.  Not once.  But what we didn’t have, and what we didn’t do, is not what this post is about.  It’s about what we did have.

A fence separated our back yard from the neighbors’.  Along that wire border grew lilac bushes which, every spring, filled the air with a fragrance that planted itself in my DNA. Also along that fence grew a few stray purple iris, and further down the fence, at the other end, stood a mulberry tree, perfect for climbing.

On the other side of our back yard, along the fence that protected us kids from our other neighbor’s ferocious (and I’m not kidding) chow, was another, smaller mulberry tree.  This one yielded berries every summer, and we joyously ate them.  We also delighted in sucking the nectar from the tips of columbine blossoms, which grew around the base of the tree. 

Because this fence was on the north side of the yard, and because of the tree, it provided the perfect spot for other shade-loving plants as well.  Such as fern; their unfurling fronds were endlessly fascinating.  Every spring, nestled in this same semi-shady area, bloomed exquisite “bleeding hearts.”

There wasn’t more than about five feet between our house and the brick four-plex to the north.  It was almost always shady along that side and lilies of the valley grew in great profusion.  We knew the chow was locked up when his owner was at work so we dared to edge into that small “alley” to pick stems of those little white bells.  We brought them to our mother who displayed the diminutive bouquets in a juice glass.

At the base of the steps from our back porch, hollyhocks bordered the sidewalk in vivid pinks, fucias, yellows and coral.  (This photo is not from that time.  These were grown from seeds three years ago – a gift from my sister who knows how much, to this day, I love hollyhocks.)  

Following the path around to the front of our house, framing our screened-in front porch, grew great bushes of, what we called, “bridal wreath.”  Their tiny, lacy white flowers bloomed for a time, and then the petals fell, coating the sidewalk and grass like snow. 

All of these gardening wonders appeared in our yard every spring and summer without my mother’s tending.  We children took them all for granted.  It is these memories which are so precious.  A part of my childhood that I long to re-create, it is these flowers I covet most for my Dream Garden.   

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Blogging in My Head

My last post here was in February.  But I’ve posted lots of blogs since then…in my head.  They’ve been really good, captivating, thought-provoking. Some of them are controversial.  Some are funny.  In my head!   

Trouble is, it seems these “best” blog posts occur when I’m:

–  at work  – doing laundry  – in the middle of the night  – driving  – etc.

By the time I’m logged on here, the “anointing” I felt for a particular message seems to have vanished.  I decided I’m not going to let that stop me tonight, though, so, for your perusal is a cross-section of random Serious Whimsey from my head:

* I’m writing a cookbook.

* I changed my hair color (see photo in About Me, which page is also about to be updated since I am now an official Empty Nester. )

* I just spent over a week being very sick – lost seven pounds in three days.  At one point, I was so weak it took all my strength to send a text to my son, asking for Ginger Ale.  No lie.

* God is teaching me to take my thoughts captive.  (Occured to me just now that maybe I need to apply this to my blogging as well.)

* Just finished reading an incredible set of books – the Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin – historical novels set in the Civil War era.  I am considering doing a review on them.  I just can’t stop thinking about them…such has been their impact on me.

* I want a vegetable garden this year.

* My iris’ are up.  My lillies are up.  My bleeding heart is bushing out.  Even my peonies are sprouting.     

* I am seriously considering starting another (separate) blog for mothers of boys.

* Our nation needs to turn back to God.  It is critically evident that we were not brought into existence to operate successfully apart from Christ.   

*  Am I ready for Jesus’ return?

I told you it was random.   

 

Poetic License of a Blogger

Bachman's Idea House - Minneapolis - May 2, 2010

* Got to tour Bachman’s (Florist) “Idea House” in Minneapolis on the 2nd.   Every few months, they completely change the interior decor.  This time, the theme centered on re-purposing and re-cycling.  If you’ve read my About Me page, you know I love redeeming cast off stuff anyway, so the tour really whetted by creative instincts.       

* For May, this is a bit too chilly for me.

* Am so enjoying the Goldfinches coming to our feeder.

* Iris’ are blooming. 

* Annual community Garage Sale this Saturday.  Am in such a mood to simplify and downsize.   Anyone interested in a ’50s turquoise rotary dial telephone?  Very retro!  There is going to be so many cool goodies in our sale; if it weren’t my stuff, I’d be excited to buy it.  But…oh, yeah, I’m downsizing, aren’t I?

* Praying with a group on a regularly basis  for a unit of guys in Afghanistan.  God is answering in miraculous ways.  It has boosted my faith immensely…and taught me that we ask far too little of God.  Prayer is a privilege!!!  Why don’t we take advantage of it more?  Seriously, the Creator of the Universe wants to hear from you.  He loves you, you know.

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Random-ness

It’s been months since I’ve posted here.  If I wait until I feel like composing prose, I may never write again.  So, I’ve decided to cast away all writing fear and record my thoughts, as random as they may be…

       My father-in-law, who is 87, is an enviable gardener.  Last fall, he shared with me some bulbs – lily, iris, phlox – and some peony sprouts.  I was thrilled – especially about the peonies  – which are heirloom plants brought from Norway by his grandmother (or was it great-grandmother?), about 100 years ago.   

       I managed to get all the bulbs planted but not the peony roots.  They needed a different spot in the yard.  A brand new place.  My hero had great intentions of removing sod and preparing a great place for them.    

But because his job demanded enormous amounts of overtime, he just couldn’t get to it. 

         Weeks passed, pushing us into late fall.   In desperation, I finally decided I’d do it myself.  I was soon shocked to discover I had neither the strength nor the tools to cut through sod, much less, prepare five holes, each a foot wide and a foot deep, as I’d been instructed by a peony expert whom I’d phoned for advice while in that state of desperation. 

    I should probably mention that I did manage to dig one hole – almost deep enough.  I’d started late in the day but decided I should probably stop digging when our neighbor backed into his driveway and just sat there with his truck headlights beaming at me…digging a hole in my yard in the dark. 

       Which turned out to be a good thing for another reason.   The next day,  as my college-age son and his friend sat eating my home cooking, I asked the friend if he would be willing to dig holes in our yard, for pay.  He agreed but in a follow-up phone conversation, he suggested I first call and have our yard marked for underground wires, etc.  You know – the “Call Before You Dig” advice. 

      So I did.  I called.  A few days later, I saw little wires with colored flags marking varying spots in my yard.  And red lines sprayed in the grass, directly across the hole I’d begun digging. 

        I need to shorten this so I can get to bed…  

        Finally, on a frigid, windy, rainy November day, the young man I hired, and our son, not only dug the holes, they mixed in the compost I’d lugged home.  And, with my guidance, planted the peony roots.     

               It had been weeks since I’d received those heirloom starters from my father-in-law and I was more than worried they may not sprout.  But now it’s spring.  April.  And I am so stoked to see they’ve come up! 

               And the young man, one of my “sons,” who incidentally turned down my pay, is now in another state beginning training to be a Navy Seal.