I had to admit one of my garden plants was dead tonight. The sedum was one of the first plants I bought – tucked in the corner, covered and shaded by the spruce tree. I couldn’t get anything to grow there because of that tree until I planted that sedum, bought in July from Canadian Tire, on sale.
Five years ago, I bought a tree peony, a dicey and expensive proposition in zone 3, and it has sulked for several years. I had to transplant it, and that set it back, but last night I looked at it, and it’s ginormous and it’s going to bloom. It’s been so long since I bought it, but I could swear it is going to bloom a blue/purple and I have been looking forward to this for years.
The vegetable garden lies fallow this year. Next year I will turn it into a flower bed. I planted that garden all those years ago thinking there would be a family to feed. I gardened while carrying Gabe, thinking that the next year I would plant carrots for baby food. The year after I gardened with the grim determination that marked all the activities I undertook that first year. I feed a different sort of family now – with tomatoes from Costco and carrots from the farmer’s market.
I look at the tulips I planted to remember Anna. Gabriel’s tree that has completely consumed the flower bed it is in. I talk to my plants, remembering where they came from, the gardeners that shared them with me.
Things change in my garden in a way that seems to mirror life. That plant limps along, sulking until the year it blooms. This sedum grows along until the loss of the tree that gave it shade and dryness means that it can’t cope any more and so it dies. The columbine self seeds and undergoes genetic migration, reverting to it’s true colours and not the hybrid I planted. Those irises need to be divided. Plants send up runners in strange locations, requiring transplanting. The lilac needs to be pruned and the dandelions want digging up.
The snow melts. The trees get leaves, the flowers bloom, pruning is required, the grass gets cut, the fall comes and the trees lose their leaves. The snow falls again.
And so it is.