Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Recurring Dream - A Seasonal Celebration and a Lesson Learned

For years now, I have been having a dream.  A recurring dream.

I dream of being an old woman.  I sit on a garden bench.  My garden is mature.  Large trees shade some areas, while some areas are bathed in bright sunlight.  My garden is complete.  Well, as complete as a garden can be.

Pat Austin

I sit on the garden bench with an iced tea in my hand.  I see every lovely bloom.  Butterflies flutter by.  Hummingbirds buzz past.  Bees work as I leisurely sit.  And I drink in all of its beauty.

In my dream, I am old and gray, yet I am still strong and tan from days in the sun.  As old as I am, I find that there is more time now.  More time to enjoy the pleasures in my garden.  The weeds are few, having been meticulously removed for so many years.  The plants are strong and beautiful.  The soil has been amended for years, and the earthworms are numerous.  My garden is a total pleasure to be in.

Black and blue salvia

It is a dream I dream often.

Gaura

Donna at Gardens Eye View hosts a seasonal meme, Seasonal Celebrations.  She asks what you will be celebrating in the season ahead.  My answer is: work.

I always miss working in my garden in the summer.  In Texas, one just doesn't work much in their gardens in the summer.  It's too hot, and even the plants go dormant from the extreme temperatures.   So, autumn is perfect for getting the garden back in shape, or for planting new plants.  I am looking forward to having days cool enough to work out in my garden from sunrise to sundown.  I am sooooo ready!  (The time hasn't come quite yet - it's still over 100 degrees F daily here.)  :(

Christopher Marlowe

Every autumn I try to improve my garden.  I try to figure out which areas need more spring blooms, which areas need more autumn blooms, and which plants did well in our hot summer temperatures.  I remove dead plants, and weed the areas that are still trying to revert back to the wild.  I make note of how my soil has improved, and where it needs to be improved even more.  I examine the height of the plants, observing how much they have grown, and how they relate to their companions.  I look at sun and shade patterns, studying the changes that have occurred from the changes of the sun, and from the growth of the trees.

I used to hate to see autumn come, because I knew that winter would be arriving shortly thereafter.  But now I welcome it.  It has become a season for work, and that work gives me much pleasure.

lantana


Beth at PlantPostings also has a seasonal meme, one about Lessons Learned.  My lesson also involves work, and in seeking pleasure.

Prosperity

Before now, I figured, if a plant lived, it deserved to stay.  Plant removal, just because the plant didn't give me pleasure, seemed harsh.  But making my garden the best that it can be, means sacrificing a few plants.  You see, I finally realized that in my dream, just as important as the plants that were added, were the plants that were removed.  It has taken me a long time, but I am beginning to tweak my garden just for the amount of pleasure a plant gives me.

Madame Berkeley

I don't want a garden that's just alive.   I want something more.

I want to feel complete and total pleasure when I look out at my garden.  I want the garden of my dreams.

Appleblossom Flower Carpet rose

And I am working toward making that dream come true.








56 comments:

  1. Good for you, Holley! 'Madame Berkeley' sure is pretty! I'm still working on that last lesson. I have several questionable, non-native plants in my garden that really should go but I hesitate to yank them out. You're a good role model! Thanks for joining in the memes!

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    1. It's hard for us gardeners sometimes to throw out living plants, but I have finally decided that I must be a bit harsh - I am tired of averting my eyes when I walk by some plants! :O

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    1. The first step to achieving anything! :)

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  3. I wish you the garden of your dreams! I hope you make a lot of progress toward your dream this autumn. I planted two pat austins this summer - your photo is gorgeous!!



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    1. Be patient with Pat. She takes a while to get going, and most people give up on her. I'm so glad I didn't. She is truly gorgeous after she gets established. I hope she does well for you.

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  4. I, too, am looking forward to fall. You have a very wise dream! I don't think gardens are ever finished and we probably wouldn't want them to be. Happy gardening!

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    1. I know gardens are never finished, but I am starting to look forward to the maintenance years instead of continually adding on!

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  5. I have never dreamed that dream, Holley - if I thought I had to achieve some level of perfection in my garden, before old age hit, I might just give up! But I do dream of having a better garden each year than the year before, and that seems enough of a challenge sometimes. I agree that autumn (and winter) are for working in the garden, but also for taking time to stop and contemplate. I am also at the stage of wanting more than a garden that just survives, and getting a bit tougher about throwing out under-performing plants, but it's still hard. I hope you get the garden of your dreams!

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    1. Lyn, as hard as you work, and with all the improvements to your garden every year, I bet your garden reaches perfection long before old age hits! I hope we both get the gardens of our dreams. :)

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  6. A lovely dream to have. I do hope you achieve it, with such a great selection of plants you have already, you are well on your way. The garden of my dreams changes from time to time as the interest in certain plants changes, so does part of the garden. It is always a work in progress and always will be I think, as plants age and outgrow their spots, the garden changes yet again.I have never been a person to plant something and leave it there forever, even if it's doing badly or I don't like it anymore. I know so many people who do this. If it's in the wrong spot it gets moved, if it looks like it's not going to do well, it goes out, and if I don't like it after awhile, out again.

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    1. It has been hard for me to let go of struggling plants, but I have found that once I remove them, it seems as if a weight has been removed from my mind. I need to be a bit more like you, Karen!

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  7. It won't be long now Holley when you can 'work' again as autumn is just around the corner :)

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    1. I'm waiting - but not very patiently! We still have high temperatures forecasted for another week yet. I'm hoping we get a bit of a break soon - and some rain!!!

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  8. Ah, I hope you get the garden of your dreams but until then it's still amazing to enjoy the garden however it is and have those plans and dreams :)

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    1. So true! Part of the fun is the planning and dreaming!

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  9. A great post and spot on. I don't work in my Kansas garden in the heat of summer as well (the summer garden doldrums...) and I should spade-prune more plants than I do.

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  10. Such a lovely post, Holley. I hope and believe that your dreams will be realized! We can call take a lesson from you.

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  11. Holley - I don't see anything wrong with removing plants that aren't working out. I have the same problem in Florida with the heat. I do venture out between 8 and 11 am to do simple tasks - clipping, watering, staking. Most of my garden work is done in the spring and in the winter. You are so much further along on your garden adventure than I am...

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  12. We've been debating the removal of four or five fir trees. It would allow my husband a wide view of the night sky for his astronomy which is otherwise unavailable. It seemed arrogant and selfish to remove trees, growing for 70 years, for a hobby. I wasn't going to do it, yet your point is a good one, shouldn't our land give us pleasure? I would appreciate your opinion. We are surrounded by forest, by the way, so it is not as if we are removing the only trees. Yet cutting down a tree is a big step.

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    1. Susan, I don't feel qualified to tell you what to do. I know a lot of people squirm when one talks of cutting down a tree, but then again, it is your property and as you say, you have plenty of trees, plus it would allow your husband to enjoy your hobby. I think that last point is very, very important. I suggest cutting down one, and seeing how you feel afterward. It may give you the determination to cut down more without the guilt. We lose large trees to drought every year, so trees aren't looked at as permanent features here.

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    2. Thanks Holley, what a good idea to do just one. Interesting local perspective too. I find it ironic we live in a town dependant on the forestry industry yet the cutting down of trees on private property becomes a huge issue. As we also have to be aware of food security I'm considering replacing each tree with a fruit tree.

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    3. Thanks Holley, what a good idea to do just one. Interesting local perspective too. I find it ironic we live in a town dependant on the forestry industry yet the cutting down of trees on private property becomes a huge issue. As we also have to be aware of food security I'm considering replacing each tree with a fruit tree.

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    4. Thanks Holley, what a good idea to do just one. Interesting local perspective too. I find it ironic we live in a town dependant on the forestry industry yet the cutting down of trees on private property becomes a huge issue. As we also have to be aware of food security I'm considering replacing each tree with a fruit tree.

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  13. Great post! I am also sitting in the Texas heat waiting for a break. I still have not gotten to the point of plant removal and I just wait for them to die.

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    1. With this Texas heat we've been experiencing, unfortunately many of mine are dying on their own! I hope we both get a break from these temperatures soon.

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  14. There is nothing so rewarding as taking the initiative to make your own dreams come true. It has been uncharacteristically hot and humid here for the past few weeks and it so zaps your energy. Finally, in the past few days the humidity has lessoned and working outside is bearable again. I hope the weather cools for you soon Holley.

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    1. The humidity makes a big difference, doesn't it? It's been very humid here, and I - nor the plants - like it! I'll keep in mind that cooler weather will be here eventually! :)

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  15. I really identified with this post. I too have trouble removing plants that are doing well but that I don't really like. Right now my front garden has far to many tall wispy plants and they really look too much like weeds for my taste. Like you, I have made a resolution to start pulling them out to make room for something that will work better.

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    1. And I need more tall, wispy plants! I guess the key is to keep improving our gardens, and eventually we'll get it just perfect! (well, fingers crossed anyway!)

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  16. That's a wonderful recurring dream! (Mine are more of the I've discovered I enrolled in a class I never attended and the final is tomorrow variety.) A good garden does take persistent work over time. I've been working on the soil in my "new" garden for 2 years now and long for the day that it will be rich and healthy and relatively free of rocks and weed seeds. Now I just have to find a way to make the realization of that effort my recurring dream too...

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    1. The soil really is the key, isn't it? I had always heard that, but until I finally amended my soil enough for it to be "good" soil (which took years), I didn't realize just how true it was! It's interesting to me to see the difference in my soil in different areas of my garden. Your comment makes me realize I need to work on that part even more!

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  17. Holley thank you for joining in. I do love the fall for the same reason, work. Work in the garden is a pleasure compared to work in an office. And at this point in my life I intend to change one for the other. That lesson is perfect as we always reach for perfection...I love your dream and all your flowers especially the roses...love that first one the best!!!

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    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone that gardens could actually achieve the perfect garden for them? I wish Mother Nature would help us out a little more, instead of seemingly always throwing us obstacles!

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  18. I hope the black and blue salvia gets to stay. There's a lot of competition from those roses.

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    1. The black and blue salvia is supposed to be invasive here, but mine has not been (yet). In fact, I want more of it. The hummingbirds love it, and I love it's coloring!

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  19. someone said - it's not a hospital, it's a garden! I am unwillingly learning the OUT, it must go, lesson. But the results is tremendously rewarding. Suddenly my eyes can see, what my brain planned for my garden.

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    1. It's not a hospital! ha! I love that expression! I need to quote that to myself often! :) And you make a good point that our brains understand, more than our hearts perhaps, when something needs to go.

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  20. What a beautiful dream! I have a similar one, although a small part of me wonders what on earth I would do if my garden ever was complete! But that's a long way off so I have many years of gardening work ahead of me. And that's a joyful thought :)

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    1. You comment made me realize - it's the journey we should appreciate! :) Here's to many years of working in the garden for both of us!

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  21. Hi Holley! I like your dream, I often think of an older version of me wandering around an older version of my garden and house, although it's rather difficult to imagine how it could be.
    I totally agree with your work celebration, I'm making plans for this coming autumn too and thank you for opening my eys about discarding some plants. You are right we need to be heartless sometimes and get rid of some plants...
    Alberto

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    1. It's been a hard lesson, and I still sometimes squirm when it's time to remove a plant. But I'm alway, always happy afterward!

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  22. Your plants are so lovely...I am in love with the colour of the 'Pat Austin'! Enjoy your autumn and all the time spent in your beautiful garden! :)

    Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

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    1. Pat is just gorgeous when she blooms. After bad-mouthing her for a few years, this rose has really grown into one of my favorites.

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  23. I hope your dreams come true. Your flowers are beautiful xx

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    1. Thanks, Jane. And I hope your nursery dreams come true, too! :)

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  24. You are well on your way to realise the dream for your garden, and we all grow old sooner or later so that’s probably going to happen to you too :-) In the mean time, enjoy your garden and the work it takes, getting to your goal is the fun part!
    I have also made some tough choices in my garden this summer, throwing out plants that were healthy or saveable, but no longer fit the space or I simply gad gone tired of them. Out with the old and in with the new – well, sometimes at least – sometimes it’s good to redesign a bed and make it just that bit better than it was before, even if it means throwing out a plant or two. Perfectly all right.

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    1. You're right, Helene. There's no other way to make it better than to improve it!

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  25. Here's to wishing all your dreams come true! I have the same dream, except I feel as though I am quickly becoming that old woman, but my garden is far from perfect:) Your lesson on removing plants that don't work is a good one and one that I should take to heart.

    The past few weeks in Illinois have felt like Texas--I am ready for some cooler temperatures, too!

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    1. I always feel like spring cleaning in the autumn. I guess spring has more promise to it, and I believe that the plants will all look pretty. But by autumn, I realize that if they haven't looked good by now, they probably won't ever!

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  26. Hi Holley, I love logging into your blog and seeing that Pat Austin rose. I am completely nuts about that variety. I had two Pat Austin tree roses, but they died during one bitterly cold and unusual winter. I felt grateful to have had them for about 8 years. I appreciate reading that you dream in your garden, it is a place for dreams for sure. Everything is always changing. I also love your blue Salvia, it does well for me here in the Northwest too and the hummers love them.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your Pat Austin tree roses. I bet they were gorgeous. It took a few years for Pat to grow up and look nice in my garden, but now it's one of my favorites. I just love the color! Thanks so much for the sweet comment. :)

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  27. I am still hung up on how to get rid rid rid of the Mexican petunia and the Bermuda grass (in the garden)

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    1. Me, too, Mimi! Lately, I've been digging the Bermuda grass all out by hand. :( The best area of the garden where I have had the least amount of Bermuda grass invasion is where I used a sod cutter to start with! I think that's the only way to get rid of it! Thankfully, I've never put Mexican petunias in my garden. I heard how bad they were, and decided I didn't want any part of that! Good luck to you!

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  28. I just dug out a bunch of plants today that I love but don't have room for. It was a hard decision to get rid of them but I realized they were too big and weren't working with the rest of the design. They're going to a friend who's thrilled to have them so it all works out. It was a relief to finally see the garden minus a giant wall of foliage. Everything looked better immediately so I knew it was the right choice. :o)

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    1. Isn't it wonderful to have that sense of relief, and to know immediately that you made the right choice! Sometimes it's so hard for us to get rid of a plant (I am always reluctant!), but when we do, we wonder what took us so long!

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