Humid, the air heavy with the scent of magnolias, I headed out yesterday morning to begin my walking program. I had been walking regularly between 3-5 miles each day, winter set in and so did laziness. I’ve been feeling a little off lately and knew I needed to get back to my walking routine. That first step is a doozy though isn’t it?
Those lovely magnolias scenting the air and walking in endless circles, makes my mind wander. So that I don’t think about how bored I am or how fat I am and how much I don’t feel like exercising I let my mind take a little escape. Walking in circles made me think of you Karen K and all those circles you mowed. I know you have been asking for a monster fish tale, and this is it. Well, sort of.
I enjoy gardening, although I don’t do much of it anymore. Much of our front lawn area is centered around our pond and the small garden area around the pond. Many of the plants in and around the pond were either given to us or purchased to commemorate an occasion. A miniature lilac, which we call Lucy’s Lilac, that was purchased on our trip home from Aunt Lucy’s funeral in Pennsylvania. It blooms after the other lilacs, the scent permeates the entire front and side yard.
In the pond, lotus, water-lily, variegated sweet flag, pickerel rush, anacharis, around the pond, Siberian iris, holly- hock, cat-mint, day-lilies, just a few of the many plants that were given to me by then neighbor Karen. At the time she was going through a really rough patch in her life, & I worried, that her bad Karma would rub off on me through those plants. Apparently not, the plants for the most part have thrived beyond my wildest dreams, the pond remains a daily inspiration and meditation point and all visitors to our home are drawn to this area. It wouldn’t be the same today, if Karen had not given those plants to us out of generosity.
The pond and garden of course have art accents here and there. Garden designs made by both Holly and me. A pair of wooden heron purchased on a trip to Bar Harbor years ago, and a plastic heron, that I read would chase away the real thing, – that doesn’t work. I had different mermaid pieces I made out of metal at the pond, one soared over the pond for a few years, now she rest at the bottom. There are several pottery items scattered around that I purchased on different trips to Germany and finally the flamingo plant holder. It showed up mysteriously in our pond a few years ago when Charles and I were away, I have my suspicions about where it came from, but not knowing for sure, adds to the allure.
What is a pond without fish – we have so many and it all began with 10 little gold-fish and 2 tiny little Koi, given to us by our nephew, Christopher.
My grandmother was a stout no-nonsense Pennsylvania-Dutch gardener. This meant her gardens served a purpose, and the straight lined flower gardens that were along the driveway, were not prissy little gardens with sculptures and benches for sitting and whiling away the day. There was work to be done, and that was that. Having said this though, you must understand she really did love gardening, for her the joy was in the simple beauty of the blooms, the butterflies and birds that visited. I share this same gardening style in many ways. I don’t do formal gardens and I break the garden rules on many occasions. One of those rules, in Charles’ mind is that vegetable gardens are for vegetables, and flower gardens for well, flowers. Grandmom had a garden off to the side of the house that had vegetables and flowers mixed together, this was the magic garden. Mixed in with the rows of corn were, pholox, and zinnas and roses, day-lilies, hollyhocks and other delightful flowers. This is the garden of my dreams.
I learned from my grandparents the simple joy of sitting quietly on the porch, sometimes with a chore, shelling peas, snapping beans or husking the corn, other times it was simply to escape the heat. Sometimes there were conversations but always there was the joy of just watching the butterflies or bees busy around the gardens. Today, I can still find that same simple pleasure a true escape. I just spent an hour the other day doing nothing but watching the grass grow and listening to all the birds sing. I needed it.
I brought back to Virginia, from my grandparents gardens a few plants that are the prizes of my garden. I planted them at our first home a couple of counties over, and when we moved to our current home, they were dug up and brought along with us. I wait each spring for Charles to come in and announce that my grandmother’s peonies are blooming. We had mint tea last weekend, from her mint, mmm.
In our vegetable garden each year I would sneak in a flowering plant, always drawing a comment or two from Charles. The thing that always got his goat, was the morning glories. He says “they are nothing but weeds, and they choke out the vegetables.” For years he would work diligently to pull those tiny little shoots, as soon as he saw them coming up. He also thought they were growing wild, then he found out that I was actually planting the seeds on purpose. Ah, I was so busted.
These days our vegetable garden is pretty much non-existent, mostly herbs and a few plants. I put in a few little romas, but they aren’t looking too good, I’m not expecting much from them. My neighbor Pam, gently told me recently the lavender I got from her, would do better if I didn’t have all the mulch around it.
In the spring my 80 something year old neighbor shows up with this infectious grin on his face and says “Miss Kim, I have your cantaloupes.” Now, mind you this is a tradition, he goes off to some secret location, and purchases these special plants and brings them to me. When I say it is a secret location, I’m not kiddin’ – he will not reveal his source. Are they good? You betcha! They always produce more than I can eat, Charles doesn’t care for them, so I always have extra to share – if you want some let me know. This year, I’m a little nervous because, first I didn’t plant them, Charles did it for me and secondly they are planted in a different location and I’m afraid the cantaloupe mojo may have been broken – we’ll see.
From friends this year I also received some pretty special items, I got sunflower seeds from Justine. I’ve lusted after her sunflowers, I’ve grown plenty of my own, but I must say hers are really impressive. The beautiful photography I had on display at the artist open house were the photos she took of hers. I was delighted when she presented me with seeds from last year’s plants. I feel a real sense of duty to come through with a beautiful crop. Keep your fingers crossed. My other friend, also named Karen, gave me a truly coveted plant – a hyacinth bean – this is one of those plants I have always loved, but never had much luck with. I can’t mess this one up – this plant came from seeds that belong to Karen’s late mother-in-law. I have to go out and talk to that plant every day.
When my sister Joilyn got married, I hosted a bridal shower here at the house. We had recently moved to our home and it was in need of some cosmetic work. I wanted everything to look nice for this special event. Our budget was pretty small, we purchased some inexpensive parquet flooring to put in our great room. It was a big rush to get that installed before the shower. We were so proud of our efforts and thought the room looked so much better. The magnolia’s were blooming and I filled the room with vases of them. I think of that time each year when they bloom. I sure wish all these years later that, that cheap parquet floor looked as good as those magnolias!
My gardens are woven with gifts from friends, love and memories that are very dear to my heart. Tonight I will host a ladies cock-tails by the pond get together, which I’m sure will create more memories.
By the way, the morning glories are coming up.
Until the next time,