Some years my Summer garden is magnificent, utterly sublime, painstakingly tended, watered and cared for. Other years, it is lovely, and I look forward to returning home to it after work each day, and I spend the weekends in it, and it keeps me grounded. This year, well, it just wasn’t much of anything, to be honest.
Sometimes I stop and reflect on last year’s garden (soooo beautiful!) and I feel sad because I let the season pass without much effort and there’s a feeling of regret. Then I hear that self-soothing voice that I have been practicing for the last year and a half and it says simply and sweetly “it’s fine.”
I was standing outside right before I sat down to write this. It was cloudy and quiet and there was a light breeze. A ladybug landed on the post near my hanging Angel Wing Begonias and I watched her climb a while. I heard birds, I heard buzzing and I half smiled, realizing this garden is perfect as it is. It is what this Summer, unique to last Summer, called for. This Summer, we went to the beach often where my four year old perfected swimming without her bubbles. We went out of town three times for overnights. We took a road trip. We went to farmer’s markets. We had visitors from out of state. We appreciated the flowers in other places and I put all the longing for my own piece of floral paradise aside, maybe for the first time, and I said over and over “it’s fine.”
It really is fine and probably necessary to let ourselves off the hook from performing as well as we once did in some area, as often as we can. I would say that it is as important a hobby as gardening, the hobby of self appreciation exactly as we are. Last year, I gardened better and this year I have a child about to start Pre-Kindergarten and I opted to take the last of our “anything goes weekdays” and make them last and last. My priorities shifted, maybe yours did, too; with school starting, a vacation over, a recent move, or whatever it might be. If you took time from gardening and landed somewhere else, “it’s fine.” Your garden won’t forget how appreciated it was, and it will wait until inspiration strikes and your priorities move again. This is another lesson learned in the garden.