Tuesday Morning Opinion: A Member Of The Choir

Sunday is a short work day-the shop is open 12 to 4.  Most Sundays I book landscape consults in the morning-most people work, and weekends are easier.  I do not do evening consults.  Buck and I need some time together every day.    Evenings, Buck and I, and the corgis have a routine that I treasure.  So I do Sunday morning landscape consults-before the shop opens.

I have no problem in the world with this.  Every one of my clients work, and work hard. They may be novice gardeners with day jobs.  They may be seasoned gardeners with kids.  They may be professional men and women with the notion that their landscape is an important element of their life.  Whomever they are, I am happy to accomodate.  I know what it means to work.

My consult last Sunday-I will admit I was dog tired, and not anxious to add one more garden to my list.  As usual, that cloud lifts-once I meet a client.  This woman was of Japanese descent.  After living in my community for 30 years, she recently and unexpectedly lost her husband.  Her only relative now-a daughter in Australia.  I would have never guessed she was 70 years old; everything about her weas graceful and beautiful.

 Her modest 50’s modern house was architecturally strong, beautifully furnished, and spotless.  But what really engaged me was the landscape.  The private rear yard was simple, serene, mature-and beautifully maintained. Really beautifully maintained. The front yard was wild right up to the front door. The only evidence of the human hand-large stands of Jack in the Pulpit, wild geranium, may apple-and so on. An old wild flower garden.  Her landscape was a landscape design crash course-I was enchanted and interested in her story and her garden.   I could not imagine why she had scheduled a consult with me-I told her this.  She had just two requests. 

 What would I advise for the floor of her small terrace off the back of the house?  I told her the old concrete studded with gravel was beautiful and appropriate, and did not need any change.  She persisted in a very gentle way, so I responded that she could stain the concrete a pale blue grey. She seemed to like that idea.  Her last request-where could she have water?  A modest representation of water.  A little sparkle and splash.  A small addition to her choir.  I am thinking about that for her.

Last Sunday, I had no appointments.  The shop closed late; I took some plants home anyway, as my pots are not even close to planted.  I backed the suburban into the driveway, and unloaded the corgis.  Buck brought me a glass of wine, and I started planting.  For several hours, I was a member of the choir.  The dogs, the dirt, the plants, the birds, the early evening sun, the water-divine.  Those several hours did so much to restore my spirit and energy.  This week is the last of my intensely driven spring work.  I hope everyone’s flowers will be planted by next Tuesday, and I can devote my time to a slew of landscape projects patiently waiting.  A little time for one’s own garden-I highly recommend it.

Comments

  1. Deborah what a lovely post!….I discovered your blog serendipitously by searching the Cornus ‘Venus’ cultivar as a specimen for a garden I am currently designing. Your ‘story’ is so similar to mine (except for the locale and other minor differences) I felt like I was reading about my life…I can feel that bone tiredness, as well as the exhilaration that comes with even the littlest time of puttering in the garden. So glad to have found your blog. It is most inspirational! maria, http://www.gardendesignma.com

  2. I can think of nothing better, except that we cannot even walk out of the house with our mouths open or talk– unless you don’t mind a Canadian soldier or five in your mouth. This year they are overwhelming. I vacuum up piles every morning IN the house! I am down to hiding in the basement if I want to turn on a light!

    Do you have these peskies in Detroit? Keep in mind we are 2 blocks from Lake Erie.

  3. Thanks for the reminder — my goodness the schedule is crazy. The unmentioned element of a beautiful garden and living the ‘good life’ is time.

    A little time each evening does much to quiet the spirit.

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