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.