The Tough Life Lesson My Garden Is Trying To Teach Me
Dear Nicholas, I am a very discouraged gardener. I feel defeated. Since last winter I’ve been letting nature take over. But I want to recover and get back out into action. The reason I’ve stayed inside reading even on pretty days is that I’m tired of feeding deer, rabbits and voles. This past year they ate more of our plants than ever before, wiped out whole bushes and entire beds, ravaged the periwinkle ground cover.
Solomon’s seal, leaves chewed
I need to learn to keep going, undeterred, in spite of losses that keep happening.
As it happens, this is an important and tough life lesson, especially for anyone of advancing years. #keepingon
A couple of years ago when a huge bed of lavender mums was cut down to three stems, I said to myself: Peggy, the Polish rebuilt Warsaw after World War II. You can replant a bed of mums. But I haven’t. Instead, I planted a shrub too big to eat. At least that time I didn’t give up.
Summer 2021, Black-eyed Susans
Putting Plants Behind Bars
I know a woman who gardens in a woodland location much like mine. She built a chain link fence maybe ten feet high around her house. She said it was either build the fence or give up. Her home looks like a little prison camp in the woods.
Recently I visited another rural house that had a beautiful flower garden in front. What? I said. No deer? Turns out a neighbor family hunts the land when they’re not at home, has been doing so for three generations.
Summer 2022. Same spot, weeds, not one Susan
I don’t want a fence. I don’t want to kill the lovely deer. And I don’t want to have given up gardening. Anti-deer spray, chimes, and dangling pie pans only go so far to solve the problem. Our dogs, who will bark at guests, seem uninterested in other mammals. Nothing stops our voles. And so, #ohdeer, depredation….
Such Wasteful Creatures
It grieves me even more when the creatures tear up plants they don’t like and won’t eat. They hate basil because the taste is so strong. So I find the plants shredded into a wide pile of leaves.
But Most of the Plants Live On
One important fact: there are always plants left undamaged. And this past spring, the flowers were glorious in spite of my neglect. But I don’t want to leave them to flourish on their own; that wouldn’t last long. I want to get the gardening spirit back.
So I’ve got to learn to keep caring about plants that are likely going to be destroyed. Hard to get excited about this. But it’s an important life skill: to know the losses will keep coming and keep on planting and watering.