There is snow on the ground and I’m looking back at favorite garden tableaux in no particular order.
I try never to think of the garden in terms of “success” or “failure.” Few gardeners I know really do. Oh, I suppose if you plant vegetables that don’t grow well, you might think of this as “failure,” but whose failure? Or if design rather than cultivating a simple relationship with Nature is your primary goal, then you might have to make a value judgement.
For me, gardens are completely personal. There’s no right or wrong in Nature. There are gardening flubs, miscalculations, and so on, but none of it matters much. The well-loved garden is always in flux, forgiving, ready and able to teach, ready and able to change on its own, as well as with our interventions. We bring our sorrows here to let our sorrows go; we bring our joy here to share our joy with birds and bees and flowers and trees. Paradise is precisely here, in the oldest, strongest, most majestic oak and in the thinnest, weakest most anemic window plant. What counts is how we give ourselves to it.
It seems inappropriate to bring the spirit of competition into this sacred, idyllic place whose function is to mediate for the divine, however one thinks of the divine (even if that means good lettuce, juicy tomatoes and a fine crop of squash). The word “paradise” comes originally from the Persian meaning “enclosed park” — i.e., a garden — and it has come to describe heaven.
Success or failure, triumphs or troubles, when I look at my garden, I see nothing but perfection, simply the Nature of it all. Everything in the garden coexists in constant, active relation. I am.
Here’s more nostalgia for my garden of summer 2014.