Every garden evolves. Part of that evolution is a garden’s own biodiversity, its own microclimate. Much of it comes from the stewards that cultivate the space, who make choices about its shape and size and needs, and bend nature to their own needs, and the shape and size of their lives.
Looking at it right now, many would assume that the evolution of my garden is a downhill one, a descent into chaos. Observe the flower beds full of grass, the stone paths overgrown with dandelion. There’s lovage going to seed and unpruned winter kill in the trees. It’s not exactly material for a magazine cover.
So it might surprise you to learn that I’m feeling really good about my garden this year. The broccoli and onions are doing really well. It looks like a bumper crop of apples. And the landscaping I’ve been dreaming and planning and saving for is coming together, bit by bit.
From the front sidewalk, the neighbours are probably shaking their heads. But what they don’t know is I’m on an uphill climb after four years of chronic pain. Yes, it’s a mess. And I want to cry if I spend too long thinking about how much weed seed is probably in the soil. But I have the energy to be in the yard for hours at a time! I can make a to-do list that might actually come to pass! I have kids able and sometimes willing to lend some muscle! It feels so good to be trying again.
This garden will likely never evolve into the idyllic masterpiece I envision occasionally. It’s taken me many years to realize that that’s okay. I’m mowing prairie over here. That’s the reality of this slice of the planet. And the shape and size of my life means editing a few plans. Also reality.
Even though you might not be able to see it from the sidewalk, there is progress here, and upward evolution. For the land and for me. And that’s probably true for each of us, if we can offer our neighbours—and ourselves—enough grace to look beyond the chaos, and cheer on each struggling seed of hope.
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