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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A garden is a story told by plants

Lilies in Plopper's Field
A garden is a story told by plants.

When the time is right, the plants tell the stories, stories of the past and the present, stories of conquests and defeats, stories of friends and enemies.

The only way to hear these stories is to go out to the garden, look around, and let the plants, in their own time, tell their tales.

I've heard many stories in my own garden, some worth telling to others and some that are best kept a secret between me and the plants.

There are stories of obsessions, mostly my obsessions with one type of plant or another, like the lilies in this picture, standing tall above Plopper's Field.  I hardly know the lilies' names, but I love having them in the garden and want to get more of them, to hear more of their stories.

Out in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral, the plants tell family stories.

The Vegetable Garden Cathedral
They tell stories of gardens I've known long ago, where tomatoes grew to eight feet tall or taller and running up and down the rows was like running through a jungle made up of squash and beans, of peppers and tomatoes. The veg garden also tell stories of family gatherings, where fried okra was almost the main dish at supper-time and there were arguments about whether tomatoes should be sugared or salted before we ate them. I prefer them plain.

Sometimes the plants, with leaves showing the injuries, tell tales of insect invasions or diseases that seem to come like theives in the night into the garden.

The plants also tell stories of hot summer days, pop up thunderstorms and the twinkling lights of fireflies.
Coneflowers, washed clean by the rain

They tell tales of the south and wonder how they ended up so far north.

Camellia 'Snow Flurry' survived the winter!
I can almost hear the soft singing of "Dixieland" when the camellias tell their stories.

Everytime I go out into the garden, I hear so many stories.

Sometimes, the plants are mostly silent or speak in soft whispers, and other days they all try to tell their stories at the same time, like a band trying to play without a conductor. They tell stories I enjoy hearing year after year and surprise me with new stories I hope they will repeat.

Every plant has its own story to tell, and collectively they are the story of my garden, the story of my life.