Passersby often remark on the beauty of our garden. They linger, exclaiming about the abundance of plants and shrubs elbowing each other for prime real estate in our front yard. I share their amazement, for I deserve little credit. Mother Nature and my husband must be thanked. And I thank them. Daily.
As a youngster, I was charged with the boring task of watering the plants in my mom’s, small greenhouse… every day. I can’t recall what went through my mind, standing near motionless, hose in hand, water raining down upon every leaf of every tropical plant in whose midst I stood. I’m sure it had nothing to do with plants. In fact, I’m certain I wanted to be playing with my best friend who happened to live next door.
My mom’s plants and I grew up together. Upon reflection, those thirsty, potted critters probably invaded my being, like the aliens in that old, black-and-white movie, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It’s likely they escaped into the ground soon after our family moved into our Issaquah home, some 20 years ago.
Imagine the fun they have, resurfacing at Halloween.
My feelings have morphed since childhood. I now relish the sights, smells and sounds of our garden oasis. Where once I stood with a brain-dead, blank stare, I now revel in what my little, green friends do for me, and others, every day.
As I wander through the garden, I smile in awe at how beautifully all its inhabitants thrive alongside one another. If they overstep, as some groundcovers do, they meld in their encroachment, rather than thrash about for territorial rights. Of course, I mediate when a wily trespasser hints of a takeover. It’s either relocated, or banished forever.
I don’t grow plants — I decorate with plants. I’m an inveterate decorator.
Life feels like a canvas against whose backdrop I paint whatever I feel. I choose flowering plants and shrubs, according to my favorite color palette — the blues, greens, purples, pinks, yellows and whites of my favorite cottage gardens. I’m not adverse, however, to including whatever catches my eye, or what might please our resident hummingbird and the many, visiting butterflies, including monarchs.
When folks commend my expertise, I quickly point to my plants. Yes. I select, plant and water them. I even share a few encouraging words. On occasion, I remember to feed them, but mostly, they remind me. With or without me, they grow. They thrive.
To help optimize plant growth, we finally fenced our property off from marauding deer. They’re cute, but fearless. Neither repellent nor finger wagging could deter their feasting. Birds and bees, meanwhile, enjoy roaming freely. As does a single toad.