Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 1, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 1, 2004 – Today, on a sunny, warm afternoon, I took my much anticipated trip to Bill’s Garden Centre. I had a short wish list of goodies to search for and a few hours to myself. I was on the prowl for another dwarfish, weeping tree to plant in the flower bed beside my parking spot.
That space already has three beautiful white hydrangeas that flower towards the end of the summer. Lovely, white blooms that look like huge snow balls. They offer a cheerful, welcome whenever I arrive home and park my car. A couple of low shrubs didn’t make it through the winter and I’ve decided on a taller tree to replace them, but remembering my experience with my dwarf Hornbeam that is now twenty feet tall, I’m hedging my bets and double checking the growth chart for specific height details.
Almost as soon as I arrived I saw a lovely Weeping Larch that stands about four feet tall. This beautiful tree has soft needles that it drops in the winter. The new buds have just started to form. The tree I’ve selected has a lot of early growth and is perfectly shaped. The top of the tree is grafted onto an existing stem, so the height will remain about the same but the new growth will weep down to the ground as the tree grows. I remember seeing a Larch a number of years ago when I was on a garden tour and I thought it would make a wonderful addition to my garden, but I didn’t have space for it then.
The Larch was my first addition to my shopping cart, and it was quickly followed by perennials for underneath the Weeping Birch in my back garden. I bought some ground cover that has yellow blossoms by mid-summer and two Japanese Ferns. A few bags of top soil and I was ready to head for the check-out. I’d almost made it to the cashier when an amazing gargoyle caught my eye. I thought he would make a great companion for Arthur who sits on a pedestal guarding my garden. For some reason the name Roger popped into my head, and of course, once you’ve named a gargoyle you can’t leave him behind.
I arrived home with just enough time to unload my car and open the back gate before the delivery truck arrived with my Weeping Larch and five bags of top soil. I spent the entire afternoon in the garden – cleaning, pruning, planting and puttering. The patio furniture is now uncovered and washed, the table and chairs ready for use and the new additions to my garden are planted and watered. Roger has found a home on one of the curved, concrete benches. There may be a period of adjustment between the two gargoyles, but I’ve left it them to sort out the garden hierarchy.
I forget how incredibly soothing it its to tinker in the garden. In light of my relaxation phobic self, it’s something I need to do more often. The hard slugging, back breaking work I did creating the garden ten years ago is long past. The joy of a mature garden is in preparing it for the spring and summer seasons. When my work was finished I made a coffee and sat on one of the chaises to survey my domain. It wasn’t long before Augie climbed up on my lap and snuggled down for a snooze. In no time Ziggy was banging on the inside of the kitchen door with his paws, demanding to be included in this little love-fest. I brought him outside and the three of us settled down for a little nap.
The sun broke through the clouds just as we got comfortable and warmed up the yard. It was a perfect half hour. No cell phone or pager interrupting the silence and jarring my nerves, just The Alphabet Boys snoozing against my side. By five o’clock it started to get a bit chilly so I roused the boys and put away my garden tools. This short afternoon in my garden with my pets did wonders for my peace of mind and my attitude.
This is the kind of thing I need to do every week, not just once a season. I’m going to start to pay attention to my body and when I feel the stress mounting, I’m going to head out to my garden for a reprieve. Whoever said the simple things in life are worth their weight in gold was a wise person. Pay attention one and all.