The Eloquent Garden

The garden you create or dream of creating is a mirror of yourself

O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed.

I planted a garden bed. Pretty,  simple, cute. But above all, perfectly balanced in colour, foliage and spacing.

Dwarf blue and white agapanthus. Deep purple heliotrope ‘cherry pie’. Angelonia in deep pink, some white alyssum, sedum edged in burgundy-pink. Two dipladenia, one deep red, one white, with clear fishing line from soil to steps, so the plants will climb magically into the air, seemingly without support. Tufts of white variegated grass. Two phyllanthus multiflorus. As a backdrop to these pretty, yet strong plants, three cerise-flowering, pepper scented geraniums. These I discovered years ago in the cool  Maleny hills and propagated them through several moves, to be with me in each new home, each new garden.

As I admire my new and lovely plantings while taking a Sunday-ish morning garden walk, coffee in hand, I notice something. O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed!  And yet as I look at you, I think, how well you do look.

I love when gardens surprise me. And this morning,  I see,  a dwarf african lily, quite past its flowering time, has made a strong, white flower stalk. And there’s much more! Suddenly my sweet, balanced garden has gone from exactly as I planned, to an interesting, challenging thing.

Yes, a slim vigorous pumpkin, or is it a rockmelon, vine – insistently,  laterally twining his way. I am most fond of many lateral thinking people, so I’m delighted, if surprised to find this determined little vine in my garden. And is this not more balanced, more complete – a masculine vine to balance the planned sweet feminine garden? I move him slighty, tenderly,  as he embraces, a little too passionately for now, the Angelonia. She seems grateful for this small intervention, straightening slightly. I love vines, at one moment twining closely, the next off on some funny fearless tangent.

And since this garden shows itself to be such a ferly thing, I accommodate its adventurous spirit, experimenting with   Lisianthus in who knows what colour. And the rambling mystery of Colour Parade petunias..there will be some surprises there!  And what about some poppy seeds? Yes, such gloriously free and surprising flowers from the far North of Europe are also bound to feel at home here in my garden, I feel. For some unexpected tomato plants I make pyramids of stakes, tied at the top so the vines can freely grow upwards.

And another unusual thing. One plant that has always flourished, used all throughout my planting life, has decided that it will cease to grow. It is gone, beyond all life.  I think on this, introspection takes me over.  I conclude it  did not suit my new garden.  Like a habit, that really has no further use in my life. Just gone. A symbol, I decide, of my firm, full resolve to leave behind an old behaviour that really does me no good all. My garden as a mirror of my self.

Can I suggest you think on your garden, real or imagined, houseplants too, as a symbol, a mirror, of yourself. Think on what you plant, and why. Who inspires your gardening, your life. Is there something unexpected in your beds? Think on your garden of the future, still in your head.

Think on what you long to plant. Maybe honeysuckle vine, symbol of loyal love and friendship?  Beetroot? – Read ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ Tom Robbins on beetroot and its pollen! A bay tree, for luck and fortune? Perhaps there’s a plant taking too much time,  unhealthy or difficult that simply needs to go. Or perhaps some plants just for fun, some annuals. Maybe try new plants, new ways of gardening.

Maybe make a space and wait, see what you dream of planting there.

I am for now, wondering what my vine plans next! Climbing? Perhaps investigation of a nearby garden bed? Vines are so much fun, at one moment twining closely , next moving in lateral surprising ways.

Do I think our gardens, real or imagined, somehow mirror our selves, our lives? ……Yes, why not.  Maybe.

But what I do know is that while in our garden,  in nature, we have time to contemplate, or not contemplate, to think, or not think – on our lives. And in this Empty Space,  solutions, answers, creations, appear. And we smile and  feel strong.


18 responses to “O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed.

  1. Joanna February 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Wonderful saucy title! I also love gardening for the surprises, and enjoy walking the tightrope between control and abandon. Now I’m going to get busy checking out all your hort therapy links…are there jobs in this field? I must know.

    • Lilithith February 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      glad you enjoyed it!
      I like that…walking the tightrope between control and abandon…very apt! I shall do a follow-up soonish to this surprising vine..
      but for now…Valentines day calls for something, I feel…….

      AS to jobs….yes definitely, but it depends where you live, too. Or you could create your own job……feel free to email me re tideas re this..i think my email appears on here somewhere.. If not then another msg to me on here…hmm maybe a good blog title someday…’So, you want to be a Therapeutic Gardener”, yep definite possibilities…..

  2. The World Is My Cuttlefish February 10, 2012 at 12:17 am

    A lovely visit to your garden – so full of beauty, quirkiness and the freedom to be.

  3. gagarden February 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I see why Kevin likes your blog. You really have much deep thought and interesting perspectives. I really enjoy your writing. And your kitty is a very pretty cat.

    • Lilithith February 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you for leting me know you enjoy my blog…Its great to get responses ..I hope you enjy my next one, I am working on it now. I shall hop on over to read yours too after this.
      Yes Natasha The Wonder Cat was beautiful. Sadly she died unexpectedly in October, and her grave is the centre and beginning of my garden at the back of my house.

    • Lilithith February 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Ah yes I remember now…didn’t realise you are greenapples blog….those fabulous cute garden “beds.” These are really worth a look, anyone else reading this comment!

  4. Lee May January 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Ahhh, Lilith, I love what you say about surprise, something I’ve always loved about gardening. No matter how many times in a day I walk about mine, even hour to hour, I find a surprise. Also, your acceptance of dear departed plants resonates; who hasn’t had some plant just up and die? (Daphne for me.) I’m happy to find you (thanks to Kevin) and to be in touch with another reader of one of my favorite books, Jitterbug Perfume.

    • Lilithith January 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Lee May, Thanks for visiting my Blog, I really enjoyed yours, too. that bottle tree was great…I have a book at present “the Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a sweet sad, tale full of hope…..

      • Lee May February 1, 2012 at 1:25 am

        How amazing; I have the same title, but edited by Sheila Pickles, and “inspired by a book entitled Le Langage des Fleurs,” as the Introduction notes. Of course, yours is a novel, going back and forth in time like Jitterbug. What’s interesting is both embrace the tradition of messages sent through flowers. I love it, and the irony of our kindred readings.

        • Lilithith February 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

          Gosh, how fascinating that we’re reading the same title, different books, at same time our blogs are nominated…i am looking fwd to following your blogs and keeping in touch wih your thoughts via these lovely blog inventions! It will be interesting to see if any more coincidences like these happen again…

    • Lilith January 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

      O thank you Kevin, I feel honoured, thank you for the encouragement, and inspiration to actually put onto Blog all these often muddy, murky, handwritten blogs in the making. I see you want to write a novel but get bored with your ideas…how about you just put all ideas into a book, one after will be crazy but I think it’ll probably work! I would love to read that book! Now, who does that…Tom Robbins? Chuck Pahlanuik? Paul Torday? Thomas Berger? You will be in very good company . Thanks again,

  5. Kevin January 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Lilith, I envy you that you are in a season when you are having surprise guests in your bed. I too have had visitors in bed, and I usually let them stay. I figure that if they worked that hard to get in my bed, why not make them feel welcome. Thanks for the laughs! Cheers!

  6. microgardener January 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Love this post Lilith … and your blog! I find a kindred spirit here. Our gardens are definitely a place for reflection – for birth, life, reproduction and death … for celebrations of harvesting beautiful food and flowers, sensory bliss in the intoxicating fragrance some plants provide us for free and the constant changes like our own lives. This post made me again reflect on the (almost) death of a grand tree in our garden a few months ago and the journey I had to try to save it .. and the lessons I learned in the process.

    As Michel de Montaigne said so eloquently: “It is humankind’s duty to respect all life, not only animals have feelings but even also trees and plants.”

    You may enjoy reading my reflection on Appreciating Your Garden’s Assets (

    Keep your stories coming! Thanks Anne

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