Monday, May 6, 2013

What Kind of Gardener are You?

Where do you get your inspiration for your garden?  My grandmothers, both long deceased, are my gardening muses.  As I move about my garden, I imagine each of them whispering their guidance and secrets into my ears.  Some days, I find their presence comforting.  Some days, frankly, I'd prefer to swat them aside. 

My father's mother gardened strictly for the results; she gardened for the purpose of ensuring a beautiful yard. She planned her garden with utmost care, she purchased her seeds and starts strictly according to her plan, and she planted precisely.  If a plant failed to thrive, it was immediately ripped out and a substitute promptly took its place.  Weeds withered beneath her cocked eyebrow.  She was the gardening maestro, each flower blooming and fading exactly on time.

As a younger woman, I admired her control and skill.  I became a Project Manager for a large company, exerting the same kind of control and discipline at work, so planning and execution were natural for me.  Surprisingly, though, as I matured, I find I actually prefer the style of my other grandmother.

My mother's mom gardened for the sake of being among God's creations - for the process of gardening itself.  The fact that the end result was also beautiful was simply a happy coincidence.  She listened to each plant's needs and, if one seemed to suffer, she would gently move it to a happier location and nurse it back to health.  I swear the flowers actually leaned towards her as she wandered down her meandering paths and the trees would strain their branches to shade her.  Not everyone thought her garden was beautiful, though; it tended to be chaotic at times.  She gardened for herself, for the joy of it, and never worried about the opinions of others.  I always told her that her garden was wonderful, but I didn't truly appreciate it until just a few years ago.

Today, I feel both of them looking over my shoulder as I putter in my own yard.  I imagine one grandma chastises me for letting a weed get too big; the other just laughs and tells me it'll be great in the compost pile.  I still plan my garden, but now I forgive myself when I fall in love with some new plant that I just have to add to a border.  My garden has become more fluid and, I think, its a happier place.

My grandmas did not get along well with each other in life, but now that they have both passed away, they are the perfect team to guide me as I find my own way.  I'm not sure what kind of gardener I'll be in the future, but today, I'm pretty happy being a blend of both of those amazing ladies.

What kind of a gardener are you?

For wonderful gardening tips and information about Grow Write prompts, please see:   Grow Write Guild

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