Working in my yard fuels my soul. It always has – whether in Rydal or in the Pocono mountains. This is especially true today during the time of Covid-19. There is much uncertainty and far too many distractions and things that we simply cannot control. Time in my garden is my “go to” safe space. It gives me hope, gives me purpose and provides a sense of connection to something bigger than myself.
Early Spring is not only a time of renewal. In the yard, it is the time to discover things that have been forgotten or tucked away as we prepared for the Winter months. I never really think of gardening as decoration, but as part of an evolving process – a work that is never fully completed, but always transitioning. My garden esthetic is courtesy of my dear friend Vincent LaBella. He believed that the ideal garden “always has something in bloom…something to look forward to…a collection of instruments that are beautiful alone, but collectively make the sweetest sound one has ever seen.”
In my yard this evolution comes to life in late March/early April with a row of eight Redbuds (Pictured) – clusters of tiny magenta buds that swell into showy rosy pink flowers before the leaves appear, with the blossoms putting on a show for two to three weeks. Tulips (Pictured) – classic shapes and colors, that when planted in groupings and complimentary colors provide a spectacular display of light and harmony. NOTE: I mix early and late Spring bulbs to “extend the show.” Lenten Rose is not really a rose – it gets its name because it blooms around Lent and the flower is shaped somewhat like a rose. I await the arrival or more “smiling faces” – Viburnum, Hosta, Fern, Astilbe, Hydrangea, Azalea, Peonies, Day Lilly and a host of other perennials.
*”I need my friends. I need my house. I need my garden.” is a quote by English actress Miranda Richardson. I do not know the context that she was speaking of, but it perfectly sums up how I feel. Whether through cards, notes, phone calls or Face Time; I find myself heavily relying on (and needing) a connection to the individuals who matter most to me in life. We laugh, cry, joke and sustain meaningful interactions that are as necessary as the air we breathe and the food that sustains us. My house is my refuge. A place of security, calm and as Joan Armatrading sang, “...a shelter from the storm.” Research shows that gardening can reduce the risk of stroke, burn calories, decreases the likelihood of osteoporosis and can also reduce the risk of heart disease. For me it is a stress reduction – it lowers cortisol – the stress hormone – and gives me a connection to the land. It is the Anti-News Media. By “working the dirt,” I have the opportunity to focus on beauty and this inspires me to experience feelings of awe, gratitude, and abundance.