With old age, comes wisdom
Remember when I fell down my basement stairs two years ago? My hip never really stopped hurting. The past few weeks, the pain has intensified. I had it x-rayed and the doctor recommended that I see an orthopedist. Arthritis, of course. I can’t have an arthritic hip! How will I garden? Getting old is no fun.
I’m trying to stay positive. Old age has its advantages too. How about all that wisdom I’m supposed to have accumulated? Let’s see how wise I’ve become.
It’s been raining for two days and my hair is a frizzy mess. When I was young and foolish, frizzy hair was the end of civilization as we know it. Nowadays, I value it as a weather gauge. A quick glance in the mirror tells me the exact level of humidity. A slight curl indicates mildly elevated humidity. “Big Hair” means extremely high humidity.
I’ve stopped trying to control my garden, adopting a “free-range” approach instead. If a plant pops up in an unexpected place, instead of immediately moving it to where I want it to grow, I leave it. Obviously, that spot is a good one for it. After all, who would know better the optimal place for a plant than the plant itself?
The same holds true for plants that have been sited according to my latest “design”. If it doesn’t grow, I try something else. If it does grow, I plant more. That’s how my shady garden evolved into something so beautiful, that I use this picture as wallpaper on my computer:
The Wood Hyacinths were planted a decade ago. Originally they were an assortment of colors. Only the blue survive, the muted color perfect in this pseudo woodland setting. When I finally gave up on flowers in this bed, I tried ferns. And last were the hellebores. With all of the different leaf shapes, color other than the blue of the hyacinths is not needed.
I’ve also stopped ruthlessly ripping out anything that I didn’t plant. I allow “weeds” to grow. Occasionally those “weeds” turn into something beautiful, either a wildflower or a domesticated flower added to my garden by the birds.
I regularly practice “psychic” gardening. I get sudden urges to plant flowers in certain places or in certain combinations for no reason. I just “have a feeling”. Consider this combination:
The Echinacea was a passalong, given to me as a housewarming gift twelve years ago. It didn’t do much for years until I figured out the secret to making it multiply. A few years later, I added the Japanese iris. Last year, I added the lunaria. I had no plan in mind, just a feeling. And it paid off. I’ve been enjoying this combination for months now.
Best of all, I am wise enough now to truly appreciate my gardens. The colors, shapes and surprises draw me out of the house every day no matter what the weather. Gardening is the best therapy for mind and body.