My garden is poetry…


“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ~ Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education.

Gardens are very personal spaces. Some gardens attract butterflies, and bees, and birds. Other gardens soothe and calm frayed nerves with gurgling fountains. But the little details transform our gardens into poetry rather than mere prose.

Gardens encourage experimentation

I spent years buying plants, experimenting, moving trees, perennials, grasses, from one bed to another. I wanted the look of a country garden on a city lot.

I learned many lessons along the way. I learned that some plants will spread in places I don’t want them to be and become pests that are hard to be rid of while others are just too finicky for my limited abilities, and although they never flowered for me, they burst into wild colourful blooms for my friends. Yes, I felt very inadequate as a gardener!

I tried delphiniums and roses (wild and tea roses) and hollyhocks among so many others. None of them seemed very happy with my experimentation.

Finally, I threw my hands up in despair and called in a professional to help me set everything in a pleasing manner that would not be too labour intensive in the years to come.

My flower beds now include a variety of grasses and small trees, lots of texture and interest from the different foliage, and not many actual flowers.

I have plants that bloom spring, summer, and fall and some of the seed pods and dried flowers remain in the flower beds through the winter as consolation for the desolate wintry scene out my patio doors. I only have to fill in a few gaps here and there with annuals to add that pop of colour each year.

Treasured garden ornaments

My most treasured piece in my garden is definitely the mosaic butterfly my grandchildren made for me several years ago for my birthday. I can just imagine their little hands finding all the glittering pieces of smooth, rounded glass and ceramics and affixing them in the cement. Every year, it is the first ornament I pull out of the garage where it is stored over the winter months.

It adds a bit of colour under the bird bath that I bought many years ago from a local concrete lawn ornament manufacturer.

I love my garden decorations bought in Merrickville, Ontario a few summers ago. I was visiting this quaint little Ontario town with my American friend, Linda, and walked into the shop where Kevin Robert Gray was blowing glass. While Linda chatted up the owner, I selected the first of two globes.

Kevin Robert Gray is well-known internationally as he has had exhibitions outside of Canada and his art is in over 1000 galleries around the world as well as well as owned by individuals, corporations, and government. And no wonder. The colours of the glass and the uniqueness of the pieces cannot be matched by the cheap reproductions imported from China.

Kevin Gray, the founder of Kevin Robert Gray Glassblowing, passed away from cancer in 2012. Since then, his son Michael, has continued to make the lovely pieces such as witch balls, friendship balls, perfume bottles, and so on. The shop is now Gray Art Glass. It is well worth a visit and there are daily demonstrations of glass blowing as well as a shop where all the glass works of art are offered for sale.

I love supporting local artisans as I know that a long time was invested by the individual in learning the trade, and hours devoted to the design of individual pieces, and the actual creation of each one-of-a-kind work of art.

From the comfort of my backyard deck I watch sparrow, robins, cardinals splashing in the birdbath in the morning. I love seeing the morning dew on my Lady’s Mantle. The tall fronds of grass sway with the cool evening breezes passing through my yard. I enjoy seeing the transformations as the weeks of summer flow into fall. My garden now has rhythm and rhyme.

It is poetry to me.


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