To My Eight Gardens
I miss each of the eight of you, and the flowers and shrubs, you contain. When I decided to sell my house, it never occurred to me that you would be what I missed most. My thoughts were on my reluctance to give up having the birds and feeders; I also expected to miss the walks through Willard’s Woods and the other wildlife areas in Lexington. I knew that Watertown was too city-like to offer the same opportunities that Lexington did, but the same plants and shrubs grow in both places. It was a couple of months, after moving, before I recognized how much I felt your absence. Are each of you still thriving? Have your new owners maintained you and kept you focused on your purposes?
What about you, Pond garden, have they kept the pond filled and your pump working? Do you have any fish, what about your frogs, do they continue to come and lay their eggs and sit on your lily pads? Can you remember how startled I was the first time I saw them on the lilies? I had always thought that was a romantic myth, but there they were, sitting in the sun, not bothered by my sitting there or by the wind or by the flow from your pump. I learned so much just sitting and watching the stages your plants, insects and frogs experience through the seasons.
Mountain Laurel, you were always my favorite. Have the rhododendron been trimmed to give you space to get enough sun? Are you getting enough to eat? You know you need to keep up your strength so your flowers will be as spectacular as ever.
I keep wondering if the fruit tree garden has been properly fertilized this year – what about the insects, are they plaguing the trees and their fruit, or are they under control? Are there pears, peaches, and cherries this year, or are you still suffering from the mistakes I made when planting the garden? What fun it would have been if the 8-in-1 fruit tree had lived and produced fruit. I was really looking forward to seeing peaches, plums, apricots and pears growing on the same tree – but of course, my move occurred before the tree would have been old enough to produce fruit. Is the catbird still hanging around the old apple tree? He seemed to enjoy that spot more than anywhere else in the gardens, perhaps because he could oversee a larger area.
The berries must be having their normal, productive yields. Do the children gobble them down, or do they leave some for the birds and animals, as I did? Have the raspberries taken over the side garden again? You knew how much I hated to dig you up, but you were so out of control that I didn’t feel as if there was a choice. It was wonderful to get up each morning and go out and eat the fruit before going down to the pond to have my morning coffee. Blueberries, are you thriving as well? The quantity of berries you produced each year was overwhelming and I always felt guilty for not using more of you for jam or pies, but as you know my cooking, skills are nonexistent. Has the grape arbor collapsed yet, or did your new owner fix it? Does anyone use the grapes for wine or jam? The smell of the grapes is so wonderful in the late summer; it would be good if someone enjoyed your fruit.
I frequently think of the various animals that lived in the gardens and the bog. Please let them know how much I miss them, too. The raccoons arrived as soon as the foundation of the pond was laid; do they still go down to wash their food? What about the groundhog, is she still living under the shed and eating the dandelions from the grass? Is the possum still in the trees in the bog? My first glimpse of it was so surprising, possums shouldn’t live this far north, but this one did. What about the hawk; has he returned to plague the songbirds again this year; and the chipmunks, do they still come out of hibernation within minutes of each other? The year I was home and saw them all running around at once, was one of the high points of my life there in Lexington. How I miss each of them.
If only my strength had held up enough to continue to take care of you and the house, but that was impossible and I had to move on. Take care of one another.
I miss and love each of you.