Monday, April 23, 2012

For a garden to endure

For a garden to endure, it must grow in someone's heart. Otherwise, no one will think to pay a visit when it looks like this, all disheveled and needy. If I loved this one more, I would have neatened it up earlier in the spring, when this particular agenda item started popping up in my mind, competing with all the others, like an internalized google calendar notification system that I am helpless to disconnect. All gardens depend on that persistent voice, that reminder buoyant enough to keep bubbling up in the mind of someone somewhere, no matter how many times it gets sent back down.

If love fails, or whatever combination of affection, pride, sense of responsibility and nurturing instinct come together to give a thought persistence in the mind, the creeping Charlie would creep unchecked,
the faux Indian strawberries would spread by leaps and bounds.
and the new growth of Joe-Pye-Weed, sedges and switchgrass would grow entangled in the mess of last year's remains.
Some construction workers, sensing neglect, might be even more likely to mistake the garden for a waste area and dump their unused concrete. (On the up side, concrete makes a long-lasting mulch to suppress weeds!)
A downspout that feeds the raingarden might be jarred loose and spill the water instead at the building's foundation.

 But this raingarden's creator, Curtis Helm, must have known my mind has the requisite machinery to eventually prompt action despite formidable powers of procrastination, and so he left the garden in my hands after moving to Philadelphia. Sure enough, I finally pulled up several weeks ago with my version of the landscaper's customary oversized pickup truck and trailer packed with machines.
Last year's spent growth got sheared, the weeds pulled, the downspouts checked, the concrete prodded to no avail, and a stray plastic shopping bag delivered by the wind became a handy container for trash. A half hour of intense labor, and the raingarden was ready for another year of service to Harry's Brook, summer pollinators and passersby.

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