May is the month of planting, transplanting and maintaining.
And anticipating the month of June.
June brings a lush beauty. The green of ferns and hosta.
Buds on hydrangea shrubs. Flowers on various kinds of dogwood trees and perennials.
The tree peonies, first of the peonies to bloom in my garden.
The Canadian anemone which fetches a good price in plant nurseries but is a wildflower in my garden.
This wild phlox above, seeded by the wind or birds. It has a gorgeous fragrance, but I’ve never seen it in any nurseries.
June is the month of fresh, glorious abundance.
Annual herbs – the dill and basil, planted in May, are at their best in early June – no bolting and going to seed just yet – that’s to come in July.
I walk through the garden, pausing often to examine new growth, new blooms, the newness of it all.
There’s so much to see, that sometimes, I have to take the same path from opposite directions. This time, I pay more attention to the clematis – the ones in flower, and that second clematis we planted in an obelisk and thought had died. But there it is, climbing the obelisk.
There is an element of the divine in a garden – the freshness and abundance, the glory and the mystery of it combined – that makes me stop and stare in awe, every time I stroll through. I find myself thanking my husband, who does much of the work, and God and Mother Nature, both of which, in a garden, seem inseparable.
It’s no wonder gardener Dorothy Frances Gurney said: “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” Mind you, I feel a similar awe in Nature’s vast garden, as I behold the water of a lake or natural waterfall bordered by old-growth trees.
The thought occurred to me this morning that perhaps gardeners, without knowing, are trying to capture a bit of heavenly paradise here on earth. It would not be out of order to do so: the origins of the word paradise (in several languages) referred to both a walled garden/orchard and a heavenly paradise.
Paradise is not perfect, however. Like the story of the garden of Eden, there is troubling news for hosta lovers like me: the HVX virus. It’s a destroyer of one of the most beautiful plants in many gardens, infecting not just one but many of its kind.
It’s ironic: we gardeners treasure the peace of our gardens, the beauty of them, the closeness to the divine. Our biggest worries are usually small stuff like slugs, beetles or rabbits that chew the leaves of our plants. Who needs to worry about a virus in the garden? Perhaps it’s a reminder that nothing is perfect – or if it is, perfection cannot last.
Nevertheless, I choose to enjoy the month of June – and the free moments when I can stroll, and inhale, and admire the fresh growth and beauty to be found in my garden.
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