Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Most bloggers would have posted this photo before Mother's Day, or on Mother's Day. I didn't quite make it, but I still want you to see this shot of my daughter's front garden, a labor of love she has been working on over the four years she has owned her own home. Raising a garden is much like raising a child: it takes time and patience, not to mention a little capital investment and careful cultivation of interests and friends.

Year one was the garden's baby year, when my daughter cradled dreams of what it might eventually contain as she was busy settling into the house itself and feeling lucky just to get the lawn mowed on schedule.

Year two was the toddler year. She carefully removed sod along the sidewalk, envisioning a whole row of Annabelle and Endless Summer hydrangeas forming an exuberant entry to her cottage decor. That was the year she also had new front steps installed and the workmen managed to annihilate half of the hydrangeas, while the huge overhanging walnut tree dispatched many of the other perennials she was trying out. In midsummer, grapefruit-sized hail smashed the rest. Like all intrepid toddlers, the garden pulled itself back up and tried again.

The childhood, year three, was devoted to building strong bones--the installation of the arbor, the planting of clematises and roses, the brick edging of all the front beds, the excavation of the sagging sidewalk sections (for which she has good friends to thank) and the planting of tulips, as the garden vision grew. The back garden grew, too, and she even hosted a garden party.

Now, in year four, she sees the teenage phase of her garden, where she glimpses the maturing promise of the beautiful child she is raising. This year it sent her a lovely tulip greeting well before Mother's Day. Teenagers are like that--never on time. And so maybe I'm still a teenager at heart and that is why I didn't quite get this greeting out to you on time. But maybe it's just that every day is Mother's Day when one raises a garden. Or when one raises a child who raises a garden.