Monday, September 26, 2011

Vinalia Rustia

The joy of gardening came late to my life. My mother gardened – vegetables and flowers. I weeded. As a little kid, my first job involved pulling the weeds that grew up in the crushed stone driveway at our house. My mom didn’t trust me to pull weeds in the vegetable garden. Even in my daydreaming state I couldn’t mistake a white stone for a weed.

It wasn’t until I was an adult with my own home and lots of yard that I discovered the desire to garden. My mother tutored me and gave me many of her plants. She mentored, I weeded. Some things never change.

I thought of populating the garden with dainty wind chimes and whimsical fairies and angels. I searched for a garden muse that would welcome visitors to my garden.

Venus the major deity of love and beauty, started as a goddess of gardens and vineyards. August 19 was the “Rural Festival of the Vine” which celebrated the harvest. The feast was held to ask Jupiter to not send storms, hail or heavy rains or floods before the grapes could ripen and be harvested. Venus was honored during the festival as goddess of vegetation and gardens.

Before I could find the appropriate statuary to pay homage to my muse, the rains came, then the heat, then the mosquitoes, then the WEEDS. Gone was my dainty, pristine garden. Graceful was out. At the entrance to my mature garden, under the peony bush, stands a plucky gnome named Arthur.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Sitting in my garden, as I do most Sunday mornings, I am content to absorb the sights and sounds. The coffee is poured, the paper collected from the end of the driveway—it’s 6:00am.

The title isn’t what you think. I am a happy but at times hazardous gardener. My chiropractor grins when I call some Monday mornings begging for an emergency appointment. Aspirin stock soars during the season.

Cutting down long overlooked chokecherry saplings isn’t difficult unless you misjudge the trajectory and the tree deals you a glancing blow on the shoulder.

The deep wheelbarrow filled with dirt from my newly dug fire pit went wobbly on me and I power lifted one side rather than let go and spill the contents. My right arm didn’t work well for a week.

Why do I risk it? I can’t stay away. Over the years of child rearing, working, writing, and living the garden has become my haven, my solace and my therapy. Digging in the dirt is cheaper than therapy. Of course, the plants, the mulch, the garden art, the ancillary necessities might cost as much as therapy but you have something lovely to show for the expense.

Most Sundays I sit quietly and write in my journal grateful for the aspirin the night before and the strong coffee in the morning. We’re having unseasonably chilly weather; I’ve brought a light blanket with me to the garden bench—the one close to the house. The sun is coming up behind the neighbors pine trees.

Is this heaven? No, it’s a garden.