Warm, spring-like temperatures today lured me into the backyard garden. Donning an old long sleeved t-shirt, a ball cap, jeans and a pair of sneakers, I escaped into my personal paradise, excited about the first official work-in-the-garden day, for 2017.
During the winter, the garden slumbers, in a rather messy but comfortable bed. The ornamental grasses turn brown but remain standing tall along the privacy fence. The flowers and herbs go to sleep too, their dry leaves rattling in the breeze. There is a certain wild beauty to the winter garden, and I still enjoy walking the paths or gazing out the window at it or sitting within its embrace, in a patch of sunshine, sipping on tea.
But oh the joy as the days grow longer and the sunshine more abundant. I can feel the garden beginning to stir, waking from its deep sleep. I know that soon green shoots will appear, the harbingers of spring and riots of colorful blooms.
Before that happens, I must prepare the garden, cleaning away debris and last year’s dead leaves, cutting the ornamental grasses back to the ground, and tidying up the beds and containers.
The primary task today was to trim back the ornamental grasses…seven of them…all of which became massive last year. I have an electric trimmer, ideal for this job. However, it is still challenging to get to the base of the grass clump, to cut the stalks down.
Greg is a master at MacGyverizing (creating ingenious inventions, especially in desperate situations, named for TV character MacGyver, who was gifted with this ability). Sizing up the situation, he used a heavy duty black net to wrap around the grass clump, effectively holding the stalks upright and out of the way.
Although I cut down a couple of the clumps, it was easier for me to hold onto the netting, pulling the grasses to the side, as Greg cut at the base.
An unexpected break was called when the power trimmer quit working. Greg switched electrical cords and the trimmer worked for me, for a few minutes, then quit again. Puzzled, Greg inspected the trimmer and the cords. Both cords had been cut, one completely in two! In my trimming frenzy, I apparently cut through my source of power…twice.
I am grateful that Greg was able to repair the cords, so work could continue, and that he had a sense of humor about my mishap!
Amazingly, the whole backyard garden got tidied up today. With Greg’s help, and properly working tools, I made more progress than I expected to. What joy there was in being outside on such a gorgeous sunny day. The garden truly is my happy place. Peace surrounds me there, and beauty.
I found evidence of the garden awakening. Beneath dead foliage and layers of mulch, bright green shoots are appearing. Always open to lessons while in my backyard paradise, I recognized that I, like the plants in my garden, thrive best when clutter and deadness are cleared away. The plants can grow, I can grow, when the environment supports us, giving us space to expand and nutrients that nourish and light to illuminate us.
I realized something else. Creativity isn’t always about sketching or writing or crafting. Repurposing doesn’t always look like a metal bucket holding fragrant purple flowers. Sometimes creativity is practical. And repurposing looks like a black net wrapped around a tall clump of grasses.
I am full of gratitude for a day spent in the garden, for great accomplishments and for practical creativity. Special thanks to Greg for giving his time willingly and for teaching me a new way to look at art, robustly.
Kate Morton wrote, “It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of a new season.”
I felt those possibilities today. And I am full of anticipation.