11/06/2010

A Caretaker Becomes a Gardener

When you have a small garden, gardening can become a bit of a routine by the end of the summer. At least it had for me.  When I visit the gardens I tend at Ault I park in the same spot, take the same stairs to the gardens, I even work on my plots in the same order each time.

In a way the routine is meditative as I shift into autopilot and simply let go and relax.  Also, as an inheritor of the gardens, I am still learning a lot about the plants and the garden sites. Much of my time is spent weeding and tending to the plants. When a garden is in the backyard you can observe its subtle changes over days, weeks and months. With the gardens at the park, no matter how often I visit, I have more of snap shot understanding of them. Changes in the gardens can be dramatic from visit to visit. This left me feeling more like a visitor not the creator of the gardens.

During my last visit a shift occurred. As I was clearing away spent annuals and cutting back perennials, in my mind plants began to slide into categories: remove, keep, transplant, and the best list of all- new plants to buy. It was finally happening. The gardens that had kept me slightly at bay were now welcoming me. I saw them as they were the past two years and I was envisioning how they could look next year with a few tweaks and alterations.  After a few seasons of being the caretaker, I have graduated to gardener.  It is a rather nice feeling. Even as a landless gardener tending plots at my local park, I can experience the same ups and downs as when I had my own personal gardens.