Early spring has always held some sort of charm for me, seeing the grass turn from brow to green, little buds appearing on the trees and the longer daylight hours slowly returning. In forested areas I’m drawn to the shoots of plants poking through the brown leaf mold and contrasting against the color of the bare trees. It excites me and send exuberance though me, for I know it is only a matter of time I must wait for nature to spring back to life and be in full bloom. With the return of warmer weather and longer days the delightful sounds of nature come alive and with it so do I.
As long as I can remember I have had a love for flowers and plants. One of my favorite spring time flowers as far back as I can remember, has been the hyacinth. It is the aromatic rich fragrance, and the array of colors it comes in that has drawn me to them. As a young child of maybe seven I have a vivid memory of pulling out one of my neighbors hyacinths, bulb and all, only to be reprimanded by my dad for stealing. But I was lucky enough to have a neighbor down our alley, who would frequently cut some of his climbing roses for me. He knew how much I loved them. Finally, every year in spring while on my way home from school I would pick lilacs. We didn’t have flowers of any kind growing on our property except for morning glories I was allowed to plant along our fence, in addition my father did have a vegetable garden every year and I would love picking the vegetable, (especially green beans) and eating them as I picked them.
I would work with my dad digging and planting, thinking I was helping him as he planted, but really he did all the work. I would watch him take cuttings of plants put them in rooting powder and start new plants. I remember him telling me about trees and tree rings and I would alway get a sense from him he respected the trees and nature. I’m sure my love of nature grew from him and the time he spent with me.
It wasn’t until years later after getting my first house that my true love for gardening show. I got right to work, pruning trees, making plans for all the flowers I would plant and deciding where my vegetable garden would go the following spring. However waiting for the spring to come seemed to take forever and the anticipation of seeing flowers bloom made me wish I could rush the preceding season. Worst of all waiting for the plants I had order to come in the mail took so long I thought they would never come. When the time finally came and my plants arrived I was beyond excited and could plant. I was radiant with pride knowing I could and had planted flowers. All the hard work I put made me certain my garden would both flourish and be beautiful. I felt so alive becoming the gardener I knew I would always become.
It wasn’t until the purchased of our second house, that my true gardening abilities came out and the clear connection I had with plants and nature in general showed through. Not only did I have an eye for landscaping, but my yard was a draw for a plethora of birds, bees, butterflies and every conceivable child and their families. In addition I had such an array of flowers and massive amounts of them I could have cut flowers for much of the season.
Every inch of the front garden I designed, dug and planted or made myself. I was so proud of how welcoming and alive it made me feel that I would sit for hours listening to the sounds, taking in the beauty and smelling the sweet smells. Children would come to watch the waterfall, look at the fairy garden but none of the children picked any flowers, except my own daughters. The would make sure we had a vase or two every week.
Part of the wish I had in planting my garden, was to make my house feel welcoming, make people want to take time to slow down and enjoy the peace and solitude I created and allow children to be children and walk through it. I also had a strong desire to feel in touch with nature. Not only did the flowers bring me joy, but the massive amount of birds I had would drowned out the sounds of civilization.
Since my divorce and the consequent sale of my house, leaving my personal sanctuary devastated me on so many levels. The connection I had with the space I created was gone, the array of flowers; some rare, would be missed and the feelings my living work of art gave me would no longer be present. I reminisce often, looking at pictures of my heaven, the amazing space I created. The joy, love and internal sense of purpose I felt and then I feel an emotional void that time has yet to heal.
How can a garden cause such strife? I’m sure it stems from the labor of love I had, how it connected me to nature, how it drew me and my children together much like when I was a child spending time with my father. I do know there is nothing better for anxiety and stress. It has been a few years since I have had our garden, I miss everything about it, but right now I am not in a place to have one. But you better believe when my circumstance improve and the position I am in life changes that will be one of the first things I will do for myself. For the love of nature but mostly for the love of myself.