True Confessions of The Constant Gardener

Hello. My name is Henry and I am a gardenaholic. It has been 12 days since I last planted something new into the garden. Although, I must confess, I transformed an existing clump of shrubbery into a quasi-garden yesterday. Just a little one. Really.

The day started innocently with the intention of weeding the earth immediately surrounding some berry bearing plants which I put into the ground last year. Amongst them, I dug in some silver dogwood, one of the objects of my earlier relapse almost two weeks ago. It’s spring, the place needs to be tidied; one pulled errant crab grass opens up space and I say to myself, this next intruder should be extricated as well. A couple more would be even better and before too long, a new garden emerges, complete with rocks to define its borders, scrounged from other parts of the property.

Have shovel, will dig.

I really fell off the wagon on that planting stint almost two weeks ago. The silver dogwood? Well there were twenty five of those bare root plants which I purchased along with twenty five white cedars. Every one of them found homes in newish areas created last year – down close to the lake beside the uprooted small trees rescued from the side of the road; at the edge of the horseshoe pit along with a birch and a pine relocated from our back forty; and behind the cottage nestled on the slope with other repositioned long needled trees. And if those weren’t enough, I found a home for eight flowers and bushes to attract butterflies. Oh, I almost forgot – a packet of wildflower seeds was spread in that new garden along a path I am building.

Another confession – I love to hunt for rocks. The obsession is a variant on the gardening disease since they serve primarily as the perimeter for the newly cultivated beds and function as stepping stones to enable a guided stroll through the growing expanse. We are talking about boulders really, not a stone that fits in the palm of your hand; rather, massive hunks which require two hands and lifting with your feet so to not wrench a back. The bigger the better, limited only by my inability to physically will the granite into the wheelbarrow or roll it to the final destination.

As a last resort, roll the rock to its ultimate destination.

The spring and fall are the most opportune times to spot prospective boulders when the lack of vegetation reveals their existence. I walk the cottage access road assessing the viability of transporting that beautifully round, pink piece of quartz because it would fit perfectly into that new corner just built. At the end of our driveway is a motherlode of possibilities. If I can dig underneath and pry it out of the ground with the shovel, then it is mine. When I realize the protruding piece is really just the tip of the iceberg, then I find myself wishing for a little Bobcat.

At home, the size of the gardens have reached capacity, leaving just enough grass to merit a mower. The cottage is the last frontier. As Olga and I tour the estate, my mind’s eye sees unkempt corners full of sporadic brush, shoots of straggly trees sprouting into a tangled mess, waiting for the swing of a pick and the scoop of a shovel to clear the earth for another garden. I imagine a grove of tamarac trees beautifying the driveway, especially in the fall; or envision flocks of birds and clouds of butterflies descending on our 1.5 acre piece of heaven because I had filled it with fruit and nectar bearing plants.

My next fix will occur at our lake’s Planting Palooza in June when participating cottages will get three plants to enhance their shoreline. If not everyone avails themselves to the offer, then I will be lucky to get a few more. Plus, another cottager has already pledged five cranberry plants…. I already know where they will be placed.

Henricus, you better dig that garden over there.

Your going to work for next 30 years.

At 60 I feel kind of old, I’ve already tilled most of the land.

So I’ll hum a little tune called

This work, brings joy.

Makes me, a happy boy.

Malcolm McLaren’s song, The Boys Chorus plays in my head.
Can you see that? Ain’t that lovely?

A garden is all about the future. The plants put in today are the glory of tomorrow. Gardens are not about the past, except for what we have learned so we can enjoy it today. And I can’t seem to get enough of them.

My name is Henry and I am a gardenaholic.


2 thoughts on “True Confessions of The Constant Gardener

  1. Well Henry, the effort you put into gardening is far from self-destructive (although do be careful with those rocks!) and the results are a joy for others to see 🙂


  2. Dear Henry, what a beautiful piece of Art and beauty! ❤️😀Being Dutch is in your genes 🧬! I’m sure Mother Nature will bless you for it!❤️😀🤗. We have snow here and haven’t planted anything yet. It was tempting on Monday and Tuesday when it was 30 and 32 but saw the forecast for Thursday and on so put them all in the shed. We did get the sailboat ⛵️ in last Saturday, our cottage on water. Hope you are being careful with your back! Love 💕 to you both!


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