A few days ago, while raking the last of fallen birch and maple leaves in the front yard, it occurred to me that for many years I gardened my way through grief....click Read More
While I Quietly Gardened
A few days ago, while raking the last of fallen birch and maple leaves in the front yard, it occurred to me that for many years I gardened my way through grief.
During the years I was trying to get pregnant, then grappling with infertility and stagnant adoption efforts, I gardened. In the beginning, every spring and autumn, I spent hours outside planting. I planted roses of every kind and colour: floribunda, David Austin, climbing and creeping roses. I planted numerous shaded and full sun perennials: peonies, fountain grasses, hostas, Japanese anemone, ferns, hydrangea, hellebores and a variety of succulents.
Then, I tended to these plants every season. Each spring, summer and autumn, I spent hours gardening. As needed, I meticulously applied bone meal and manure and split older irises, yucca and hostas. I deadheaded and pruned regularly. I painstakingly checked and cleared pests and any leaves showing signs of mold or mildew.
Through it all, gardening distracted me while I moved from the unfathomable prospect of never being a mom to the hard reality that I would indeed be permanently childless. Throughout this heavy time, I quietly gardened. Then, one year, I felt too tired, so I stopped.
I was tired from the long grieving process and gardening had come to feel too isolating. Adding to this, new, younger neighbours were starting their families and, while their babies and young children grew and played in their yards, I found hard to work in the gardens alongside.
Instead, I’d settle myself into a chair on the back deck with a book and watch the plants grow from afar. When neighbours’ yards were empty, I’d walk around the planted beds, cutting some blooms to enjoy inside. Now and then, I deadheaded. Often, I gathered arrays of colourful blooms to photograph. I always enjoyed the beauty of it all.
This autumn, I’ve taken to raking and pruning again. One afternoon, as I raked, the thought came to me that, for years, I'd gardened through grief. Now, on the other side of this grieving and thankful for all that I do have, I miss the fresh air and peace of mind that gardening gives.
After this coming winter, I, like the perennials, shrubs and trees, intend to put my energy into a cycle of renewal. And, it feels right that gardening will inspire me along.
Inspirations and otherwise, as a woman without children. Welcome to share yours too - please be in touch using the Contact form.