Holy Tornado

To see the soul of your comrade listen carefully to his music.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Silver Strands And Buttercups

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I have always had many flower gardens and even though the upkeep has been difficult at times, I enjoyed the outcome so much that I have continued to dig and plant and pull weeds since I was a very little girl. It is interesting how my outlook concerning my gardens has evolved since those early days.
When I was around four or five, I started by helping Mother plant our vegetable garden. I was fascinated to see those dried up little seeds grow into plants. That fascination has never left me.

By the time I became a wife, at age 16, there was not a piece of earth safe with me around. If a shovel wouldn’t dig it, I used a pickaxe, and crow bar, and I am a little sad to say, a few times I ‘borrowed’ my husband’s very nice chopping axe to whack out tree stumps and even sandstone. My Husband was a competitor at Logging Shows and needed a very sharp axe. I was a driven woman. Ground wasn’t meant to just sit there and look dumb. It had to be planted, and planted it was, with every kind of seed and plant start I could afford to buy, find along the roadside or in anyone yard. I usually carried little paper bags and when I didn’t have a bag, I filled my pockets, then I had to empty them when I got home, and sort the seeds.

I planted flowers on every side of my house and along the driveways, and on every knoll. Each dip in the ground begged for flowers, and the trees weren’t safe either. I dug out the old depleted soil from around them and replaced it with the fluffy composted soil my flowers would love. My husband must have been very frustrated with me, as his idea of a fun yard was to have roads everywhere, like a map. He would get his cat in there and have a wonderful time, dust flying and everyone running for cover. The miracle of this is the fact that he never once dug up any of my many gardens. I probably would have sugared his fuel tank if he had!

All during the years of raising my precious children, my gardens were a source of therapy. When they hit those ‘teen years’ and I wanted to be a mama guppy and swallow them, I would go outside and rip up weeds by huge handfuls. Oh my goodness that felt good. You should try it. I didn’t wrap a baseball bat around anyone’s head, and the gardens were kept up quite well during those years.

By the time I became a grandma, I could generally be found outside, pulling weeds or planting something. I made a cold frame and learned I could get a little branch from a shrub I liked, cut it an angle, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and stick it in the ground. The cold frame was like an incubator, protecting the new cutting until it was rooted and could be planted in the yard.
Today my yard is full of these shrubs. I also learned to do similarly with a single rose.
Most all the family knows that if they get me roses, as soon as they leave I will whack off the flower heads, slice 2” off the bottom of the stem at a slant, dip it in rooting hormone and plant it in the cold frame and next year I will have a new rose bush for my collection. I prefer to start my roses this way because they won’t freeze out and grow the old rootstock plant. It will always be true.

Well, now here I am. My hair is mostly silver, I’m a great grandma many times over, and still, have a yard full of flowers. I have about 20 new roses getting started from the bouquets of roses I received from my family on Mothers Day, and I planted blue morning Glory seeds along my front fence intermixed with my blue lake green beans. I have around 20 flower gardens, many are very large, one surround’s a fishpond, another a bird bath, one for just roses, but most are mixed flowers.
I still spend a lot of time pulling weeds, but I am not so obsessed with them as when I was younger. Actually I am taking more time to just enjoy what I have planted.

No, weeds really aren’t such an issue now. In fact, I have found that many of them are quite interesting, and some are just as pretty as my flowers. Isn’t it funny how just because somebody once called it a weed, it got a bad reputation. Take a buttercup, they like an acidic, damp place to grow and the roots are truly roots from hell, but if you ever take the time to look, really look, at a buttercup flower, they are very beautiful. I took a picture of one with my digital, and enlarged it on my computer. See it above. Weed, my foot! The bright yellow petals shine like the finest satin; the stamen is as delicately designed as that of an orchid. And some of the grasses are simple beautiful too. They can look like delicate feathers, or angel wings.

Yes, I am taking more time now to enjoy my garden labors. The weeds will come and go as they have done for hundreds of years. If they get out of control, old man winter will take care of that for me, and I can start a new growing season with relatively clean gardens, which have been composted by last year’s weeds. God planned it that way.
I am taking time to really see the things in my yard. Spiders, caterpillars, bees and even the lowly fly, ugly as it is, it is still interesting to look at.

I am enjoying what I am doing. Taking time to reap the benefits of my many years of labor.
I sit in my lawn swing with a fresh cup of coffee, watching my puppies play and the birds bringing breakfast to their young. Seeing dozens of bumblebees buzzing all over the raspberry patch, pollinating just as our good Lord intended, so I will have a good crop this year. The soft warm breeze dances with the branches of the huge old evergreen while a young squirrel scampers around it’s trunk, looking for a playmate.
The fluffy white clouds shimmer across the glorious blue sky, making familiar shapes, and then dissipating as quickly as they were formed.

They say these are my golden years. I don’t agree. My golden years began the day I was born. They just get shinier as the years pass by, like my knees do.