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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Labor of Love

For the past few days, the garden has been my therapy.  We have had a few breaks in the weather between cloudbursts and it has been wonderful respite from the challenges at work.  This is not the sit-in-the-shade-and-admire-one's-work time of year--this is the dirt-under-the-fingernails, trellis-building and perennial-planting time of year and it feels especially weighted this spring since the garden will be the setting for our ceremony and celebration.

Our yard has some wonderful "structure" in the way of huge old trees and established shrubs and fruit trees--those can be both a blessing and a curse since they can be overwhelming and make it tough to garden freely in terms of planting. Some of the trees are quite old and in need of a good pruning or even cutting down altogether.  I am still building up my confidence in terms of tree-hacking.  Cleaning up leaves, twigs and branches is an ongoing task and after a good wind and rain storm, it looks like the Big Bad Wolf just made merry with the Piggy's house of twigs!

Fortunately, we have been through an entire year of seasons in this house and that means we not only have a reasonably-established vegetable garden, but we also have a good idea about what grows where, where the sun hits and where it stays muddy, and some ideas about how we would like to do things differently this year.  As I am tucking in daisy plants and lily bulbs, and scattering seed packets of miscellaneous annuals and perennials, I have somewhat of a vision of what I hope the beds will look like in a few months.  Of course, one of the other challenges of a decades-old garden that has suffered some years of recent neglect is that the weeds have established a happy hold--as I try to put new items into the garden, I am busy trying to pull up the ones I don't want while the ground is still soft and wet!

When I refer to gardening as therapy, I want to say that working in the garden never fails to lift my spirits.  Whether I am planting or weeding or hauling away debris or organizing pathways or pruning, it makes me feel grounded and hopeful and connected.  That is not to say that I won't end up with a stiff back and sore muscles--especially with this early-season forays into the garden, but other than the daily dog poop-bagging stroll, every bit of it is a labor of love...

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