The Joy — and Heartbreak — of Gardening

My yard is greening up nicely. The grass you see in the forefront of the photo is the grass I planted last fall after digging up the Bermuda grass that had taken over the area. The new grass survived the winter nicely. I was going to wait to see how the grass does in the unrelenting sun of summer before I planted more seeds, but I decided to go ahead and do some of the work now. The blue seed is where the old grass didn’t come back after dying off last summer. A lot of the lighter green is a larkspur invasion that took over where the grass along the path died. The larkspur will run its course in the next couple of months, so I’ll be able to plant more grass next fall.

I fretted about the lawn, not sure what to do about the grass that died, but since I often find myself standing at the back window looking out at the shimmering emerald of the lawn in front of the bench and feeling calm settle over me, I decided it was worth keeping up with the lawn as a mental health aid, if nothing else. At the worst, I’ll have to replant some of it every year for a while as well as digging up the invading Bermuda grass, but you never know — this seed might be as heat tolerant as it claims to be. Still, the sun in this corner of Colorado can be fierce, made even more searing by low humidity and high winds, so I won’t blame the grass if it has a hard time establishing itself along the path where it gets no shade. Oddly, even the plants that supposedly need to be grown in full sun do better around here with a bit of shade, perhaps because the shade keeps the moisture in the soil a bit longer.

Because of the volatile weather pattern this spring — temperatures ranging from the twenties to the nineties with almost daily high winds — most of my tulips are stunted. The exception is this small patch that is in the shade most of the time.

I am hoping that if I water the remaining tulips copiously on the very hot days they will still bloom, but I have no idea what will happen. It could be too late in the season for them to recover.

Gardening in this corner of Colorado is certainly a challenge, but I am learning, paying attention to what grows best and where, what need extra care, and what plants that don’t seem to want to thrive no matter what I do. Luckily, plenty of plants seem to like it here, which makes the whole project a joy. Heartbreaking at times, of course, but overall, a joy.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

One Response to “The Joy — and Heartbreak — of Gardening”

  1. Graham Says:

    I feel the same way when I look at my garden.

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