A Garden Parable

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I recently bought a new house. It’s a got a really nice sized backyard with a garden that I can tell was once extremely beautiful and likely the inspiration of the neighborhood.  It was clearly designed, planted and cared for by someone who really knew what they were doing. It was a backyard masterpiece. 

Unfortunately, in recent times it has become overgrown and full of weeds. You can still see the hints of what it used to be, but it’s like a fading echo now.  It’s still got some nice aspects to it for sure, but it’s not what it used to be.  

So I’ve been working to restore the yard/garden to it’s former glory.  I’m probably not adequately equipped. I don’t know everything that I need to know and have had to ask questions of people with more gardening experience, learn along the way and make mistakes. I’m nowhere near the level of the “Master Gardner” that first arranged this yard, but since it’s under my care now I’m doing the best I can do. 

And it’s taken a lot of work. I’ve spent hours on my knees doing lots of dirty work like pulling weeds. My knees hurt. My fingers constantly have dirt under the nails that I can’t get clean enough.  My muscles ache from being bent over for long periods of time. It’s not my favorite work by far. 

Close up of female hands pull out weeds from ground garden.

Some of the weeds are extremely stubborn. They have deep roots that have been allowed to grow for too long and so it’s hard to get them to release.  Some of the plants that are intended in the garden are overgrown and need trimming back significantly. The paver edge along the grass yard that gives a healthy border has slipped, sunk too low and needs dug up and rebuilt.  A feature pergola/swing that was once beautiful and inspiring is now covered in moss (and some rot) and needs power-washed, sanded, some boards replaced and re-stained.  And theres much, much more…

Of course, in this process, we’ve done some new planting, some watering, fertilizing and other measures to encourage the part of the garden that we want to grow to be healthy and strong. But given the state of the yard/garden that we inherited, most of the work has been to uproot and tear out the destructive elements that are preventing the yard/garden from being all it can be. 

Have I spent too much time on the weeding and pulling out of unwanted elements and not enough on watering and fertilizing? Maybe. Maybe not. 

By the end of the season I’m sure we’ll all be able to see whether or not the investment of my life in the backyard had any good impact on it’s state of beauty and health.

But after those long days in the yard, I go to sleep at night content that all that I have done, correctly or not, has been done in the goal of helping the yard/garden be the best it can be.  I do care for the garden.  And I’ll give it all I have to offer again tomorrow . . . and just hope that is enough. 

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