Wakey, Wakey

I awoke this morning, with this children’s nursery rhyme in my head…Wakey, wakey rise and shine. You’ve had your sleep and I’ve had mine. I smiled, remembering the sing-sing chant. And glancing at the sunlight streaming in through the window, it was fitting. This was Wake the Garden Day, a celebratory holiday of my own making. It falls on different dates each year, depending on the weather and the severity of the winter. After a cold February with more than usual rain, snow and ice, Wake the Garden Day landed in March…on March 9, apparently!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I love this day for several reasons:

Although spring isn’t here yet officially, it’s rapidly approaching. This day of prepping the garden for the return of grasses, flowers and herbs signals that we’ve made it through another winter. The cold temps will soon be behind me and warmer, longer days are approaching. In fact, we switch to daylight savings time this weekend.

It’s great to spend the day in the garden. I leave up dry ornamental grasses and dead flower stalks, to create interest in my backyard paradise. The garden in winter has its own beauty. The brown, gray and tan remnants of last year’s season contrast with the snow or glisten with ice. That means as spring nears, there are many tasks to carry out: cutting back grasses, clearing away dead stalks, dividing plants that have grown too big and general clean up. It’s messy, hard work…and it is so rewarding!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

As we worked, I was grateful for bright sunshine, sturdy work gloves, the right tools for the different jobs, and Greg’s assistance. The ornamental grasses were trimmed back and the bigger ones, divided. I left volunteer grasses growing in the garden from last fall. Those were all dug up today and bagged. I have 20 or more plants to give away.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryOrnamental grasses nursery!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryAnd a huge pile of trimmings to burn, on a less windy day.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I love this day because the results from our work are so immediate. It feels wonderful to clean up the beds and inspect for new growth. And it was evident. As we trimmed and cut away and raked, bright green shoots were uncovered. Tiny leaves are appearing on Russian sage plants and lemon balm and bee balm are pushing through the mulch in little clusters. The garden is stirring and that makes my heart sing.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

As I observed the bare ground and tidied beds, after hours of work, I realized what I love most about singing wakey wakey to the garden. It teaches trust and deepens my faith. The straggling, messy remains from last summer are gone. The garden appears to be very empty. But I know, tucked beneath the earth’s surface, the roots of plants are awakening, gathering nutrients and strength, preparing to grow.

Every spring, I witness the miraculous…the return of life, of beauty. No matter how long the winter seems to last, it gives way, with grace, to spring, to rebirth. And where there appears to be nothing…in a couple of months there will be lush growth and riotous color. It’s never the exact same garden, as it shifts year to year, and yet it is always gorgeous.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryLast year’s garden.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I am moved every year by the transformation.

I have a few more tasks to complete tomorrow…a lilac bush to trim back and the raised vegetable garden bed to prep. And then I wait and I watch. I’ll walk through the garden daily, softly singing wakey, wakey…and greet each plant, each flower that awakens into life with a joyful smile. Welcome back, my garden.

“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.”

Thomas Berry

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Surrender 73: Wakey, Wakey

It seemed appropriate, on this first day of Daylight Savings Time, to putter in the garden. The weather continues to be warm, and even with the threat of rain and thunderstorms, I surrendered to the call of the outdoors. 


This time of year, as spring nears, there is much tidying to do in the garden. As plants die back in late fall, I leave the dry, brown stalks and leaves in place, to mark the locations of plants. Today, armed with long bladed shears and a white utility bucket, I moved from clump to clump, cutting down last year’s remnants and dropping them into the bucket. 
 No need for a garden hat today! 

I love being in the garden. Today I was delighted to see more plants pushing through the ground, waking from their long winter’s sleep. I glanced around occasionally, to make sure the neighbors weren’t watching, as I crooned to each tiny plant, “Hello! You are awake.” I touched the plants, smoothed mulch around them, cleared away debris. I’m very sensitive…to energy, to scents. These little herb and flower plants responded, I’m sure, by releasing their delicate aromas into the still, humid air. 

This is bliss, that I’m willing to share. 

Come with me, on a walking tour of my awakening paradise…




 German Garlic

 Bee balm



There were many more plants stirring in the garden, than those pictured above. I’ve quit being concerned that spring has arrived too early. It has. I’m trusting these little beauties know what they are doing. Like children who sometimes pop out of bed earlier than expected, these plants are awake. I’ll take care of them, joyfully.  

Fat drops of rain plopped onto my head, signaling the end of my garden puttering. I was content with what I accomplished today. I snapped a last picture, of the pair of metal cranes near the meditation area. I love having the cranes in the garden. They are, unexpectedly, a connection to Thirlestane Castle, in Lauder, Scotland. The castle has a pair of cranes that grace either side of the massive front door. 

I suddenly realized that my cranes did not have names. What an oversight on my part. I decided to give them Scottish names. Calder is a Scottish word that means “stream”. That fits a crane well and ties in with my word for this year. And the other crane is now called Ainslie, which means “meadow”. That’s close enough to a garden! 

Calder and Ainslie, thus christened, stand watch over my garden. Cranes are symbolic of happiness. How perfect, as sentinels of this place.