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Who by Hyacinth

Already thinking of my garden next year, can you believe it? I’ve decided I want hyacinth but won’t plant them till the fall for a new addition in the spring. (Leonard Cohen’s song, Who By Fire, which ponders the means of demise for those who will fall in the coming year came to my head but with garden flowers replacing the weapons of death.

I’ve been living in my house for 12 years. I have learned that everything is a process. In those years, I have taken down walls and put them back up again, discovered brick that hadn’t seen the light of day in nearly a hundred years, installed floors and toilets and a deck, moved closets, changed space. Importantly, I discovered how much I love demolition – talk about stress release…nearly as good as digging fingers in the dirt.

Growing the garden, like building the castle, is also a process. I have learned to love its stages, even knowing they are not what I ultimately hope to bring into existence. But isn’t it really the journey, and not the destination, that is the essence of living?

So I planted some vinca as a solution to the bald patches in my front garden. My understanding is that Vinca spreads to visit but does not suffocate other plants, and it blooms small purple flowers to pop out of its forest green spiky vines that keep close to the ground.

The neighbor stopped and said hello as I was picking London Plane leaves out of the yard the other day. I had just finished putting the vinca in the ground. He commended me and noted the size of the front garden, pointing out when he saw my exasperation at not being done with it already, that it is a deceivingly large space to work. I explained the vinca was a balance between pragmatism and poetry. I need something that will eventually take care of itself but that also allows me and others to be in the space (so many gardens have ground cover that create more a plant museum than a front yard to be used and enjoyed).

I pointed out the hostas his wife had given me 12 springs ago. They’re in full bountiful bloom with beautiful delicate lavender colored flowers reaching up to the sun. Next to them, the brand new baby vinca with years to grow. Yes, a garden is a process, a journey, and a labor of love.

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