Each year I work away at one more hindrance by setting the intention to let it be. Whatever “it” is, I leave it to be what it is going to be. Well, more accurately, I set the intention to leave it to be. What typically happens is that as “it” becomes more and more its own self, my need to cull, cut, contort, and otherwise connive it to be what I want it be asserts itself. And nowhere it that more apparent than in my garden.
I’ve defined a new psychological disorder; if delusions are inexhaustible, so too are shrinkolexical categorizations of the impenetrable. Gardener’s Obsession Circumscribed to Dirt – GOCD. It is diagnosed by an uncontrollable urge to punctuate clusters of flowering plants with spaces of dirt. It can be chronic or acute. Typically, it is a low-level dysfunctionality (sort of like a dysthymia of gardening illusions) but can surge into a full-blown acute case in the months of July and August. The more serious cases are found in August if one has a case of GOCD – vegetative type.
As you know I’ve spent two years away from my garden during its most formative and needy periods of development. This might well give rise to another disorder – some sort of parental neglect of blooming potential or something. Anyway, having left for the wilds of Santa Fe every March and August, I seem to have developed a slight tolerance for letting go of the garden I had planned to have and an acceptance of the one I do have – not unlike being a real parent of a real child. No longer do I yearn (too much) for a neatly established garden with swathes of dark earth or mulch caressing the growth edges of Ox-Eye Daisies, Campanula, Pasque Flowers, Bleeding Hearts, and Bee Balm. I am at one with the Azaleas with their twiggy branches and have left the Nishiki to skirmish with the kiwi vine for canopy space. The Irises seem quite content with the Lupines and the Clematis are holding out against the Sandcherries. Even the dreaded Peonies have re-asserted themselves quietly in the side beds.
This year, with no travel plans on the near or far horizon, I ironically find myself confronting my GOCD full on. Where I thought there would be time to edit the garden beds, I find only time to edit out the unnecessary from the narrative of my lifeline. And the most unnecessary at this moment is the illusion that anything can be picture perfect. So, I am embracing my garden in its gardenness and slumming in the messy delight of its tangled growth. Strangely, that messy English Garden I coveted for so many years seems to have manifested. Perhaps it has only if you tilt your head a smidgen to the right which allows the echinacea to block the view of the weedy grass between the spirea and the honeysuckle. But it is there.
Deeply embedded in the foliage and flowers, it is there.
I have a related obsession with a different outward manifestation. My garden is not brimming over with bloom as your lovely pictures show. The deer have different gardening ideas that I do and I am sans deer fencing. But I watch my obsession to tame and make beautiful the spots where weeds want to grow in pathways and beds and the driveway. And then there is my ideas that the grassy meadows should look trim and pastoral. I watch as I use up my available stores of energy some days and wonder about the sanity of this. I see my desires, my need to control. I see my imagined ideas about what is beautiful. I see how hard it is to let it all go…
Oh, I so identify with that unmindful consumption of energy! So far, this has been a good summer to feel that collapse after two years of driving (and flying) myself crazy with expectations and performances!