I ask only because  after deadheading flowers, lifting pots, pulling weeds, and resetting garden path stones, my bones hurt, my muscles ache, ants have crept inside my pant leg and there’s a patch of poison ivy on my arm driving me crazy.

I ask because it’s hard to garden when the weather goes  from hot to rainy to ninety degrees with humidity above eighty and more rain predicted (as though we haven’t had enough).

Yeah —  why DO we garden?


Because not gardening isn’t an option. Because something pulls us to the dirt and to creating beauty.

Some call gardening “art.” I call it necessary to the human condition, food for the soul, salve for anxiety, ice cream with no calories.

It’s been a crazy summer, though. The plants don’t know quite what to do about the weather. The sedum thrives but I’ve noticed some rotting deep inside where the sun (when it shines) doesn’t reach. Same for the cone flowers and the calibrochia.

The black-eyed Susan plants do well, though, and would probably grow in cement. I can’t complain about the lantana, either.

The new hydrangea trees my good friend Joe and I planted in the spring adapted quickly and have produced magnificent blooms, and the impatiens could not be more beautiful.

Having said that, the tomatoes are rotting before they ripen.

The eggplant is just now showing  signs of edible produce and forget picking a crop of bell peppers.

But the basil is beautiful and the small patch of thyme the birds planted for me looks ready to use.

So . . . why DO we garden?

Pleasure. Sheer, absolute, I don’t care if the bugs bite, I know I can’t kill all the Poison Ivy,  the ratio of rain/ sun sucks, I hurt all over, Pleasure.

I feel that as I sit on the porch swing every morning it doesn’t rain.

Sipping my coffee, I watch butterflies flit, hummingbirds zoom, and bees burrow deep into morning glories and daylilies.

As early sun highlights the crepe myrtle, and the golden finches come to feed, I feel happy and grateful that I am a gardener, and I think that Robert Browning had it exactly right when he wrote the words, “God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.”




IT MIGHT BE SPRING . . . And Then Again . . . .


If Winter and Spring were two of Mother Nature’s four children, I’d picture them as twins, boy and girl.

Winter, the only boy of the four, is mischievous and teasing, sometimes rough and unkind, in everybody’s face, testing his powers during the season given him by his mother.  I can see him sculpting ice fantasies one day, snow castles the next, tiring of it all sometimes, allowing his sister Spring’s sun to burn through the cold, but never for long.

Spring would have her hands full, keeping her brother within his boundaries, out of hers, practicing patience while waiting for her turn to rule. As the seasons begin to merge, she tests his waning strength, subtly encouraging snow melt by increasing the warmth of the sun.

Winter responds with tantrums that explode into late snows and icy rain, and the new sprouts who’ve answered Spring’s call, curl back into the ground. Spring doesn’t cave. She boxes Winter’s ears with warmth and blue skies. Finally, Winter yawns and sinks into his cozy corner to sleep until his sister, Autumn, wakes him.

It’s fantasy, I know, but the give and take of winter/spring this time of year is maddening, with seventy degrees one day, dipping to thirty the next. The roses think it’s spring, and I wonder if their tender new leaves will survive this late surge of cold. Daffodils, hyacinth, crocus, and snowbells brighten gardens today, but a late snow will destroy the blooms. Our meteorologists say this dip won’t last but also warn that the roller coaster ride of warm/cold is probably not over yet.

So giving the seasons personality and building a story around them . . . well, that’s what writers do, right? Besides, It helps make this unsettled weather pattern more acceptable.

But I wish Spring would get on with it and send her brother to his corner to sleep.