Friday, April 30, 2010

The Past is Prologue

Since I wrote last, I have moved to Michigan to live with my mother. She is 88 years old, and while in pretty good health, needs someone to around on a permanent basis. As I am retired and a widow, I am the perfect child to come home.

I love our time together. We have always been good company for each other, except for those teen years and early widowhood when I railed against the unjustness of life. Life is not just, not for me, not for anyone, but it isn't supposed to be. We serve, we carry our crosses. Hemingway said it best, and I paraphrase, we can't do anything about the cards we are dealt, we can only play the hand well. I would go so far to say, we are who we are by the way we play our hands.

I love living in the woods. This morining it is almost 42 degrees, the sun is shining on the leaves beneath the trees, and this afternoon I will set out the tuilips and caladiums I have started in pots, so they can catch some sun.  They will need to come in at night until almost June.  I also hope to put the arbor together-I don't know why everything must come in pieces requiring mechanical skills for assembly. I have the skills, but dread the piece work. Yet the result will be worthwhile as it frames a "garden room" which will be a field of wildflowers.

Gardening in the woods of north eastern Michigan is new for me. The soil is sand, and any ammendments call forth the roots of trees yards away. The sandy soil drains well, and the leaf mold incorporated by nature makes it rich for planting, but the lack of sun, and the presence of evergreens creates a semi acidic soil which inhibits the growth of some plants. It is the lack of sun that my mother misses most, for she loves roses. We have planted a few roses, despite the lack of hours of sun, and they try their best to grow. We always get a few blooms, but not the riches of my Iowa yard.

I've had some luck with growing smaller versions of the hydrangea seen above.  Momma loves the large flowered ones, so I have some ordered as a surprize.  The dafodils are blooming now as are the hyacinths.  I feared the squirrels would dig them up, but so far only loveliness and sweet scents.

Gardening in the woods calls for balance. The easy choice is to remove trees and have a yard of sun, but then we wouldn't be in the woods. The other temptation is to create lots of beds and a variety of plants, but then the ambience of forest would be tempered/destroyed. The balance is to work with nature, not try to control nature. Like life, we balance age and respect with self and need. When we were children our parents cared for us. We developed love and respect for them that comes full circle when they need our care for them. It seems a right balance.