There Will be Hope

There’s something very hopeful about preparing a new garden bed, not just the hope for new flowers, but hope for the future — hope that there will be a future. That hope keeps me going despite the hard work, and it is hard, even if the plot is only about 25-square feet. That’s a lot of digging, especially if what’s beneath the soil is a tangle of Bermuda grass roots as well as a tree root or two. (From a tree that was cut down years ago.)

I enjoy looking at that bare ground (well, bare except for the bits of vegetation that resist being raked up) and thinking about what I will plant. I know one thing I will plant are New England asters. When I first mentioned those plants years ago, a blog reader warned me that they tend to spread and even take over. In my smugness as a new gardener, I responded that I liked plants that spread because they save me from planting more. And I do like them. The problem is that the single stem I started with grew into a mass with several stems, so I divided them and replanted, and now each of those stems has become a clump of several stems. So now I need to figure out what to do with them all. A gardener friend wants some, so that’s a start. I know where I want a few more, so that’s good. In the end, I think, I’ll plant what’s left in my uncultivated area and let them take over. I bet they would lovely in a large mass!

Part of my newly cultivated area will be planted with grass — I need an area I can mow to give me access to the back of the garden. With no access, I ended up with a whole lot of weeds and weedy grasses. The lilies that were planted in that area rose above the weeds, and were lovely, but I want to give them less competition — except, of course, from the additional lilies I ordered a couple of days ago. Luckily, lilies don’t mind being crowded, so if my lilies — new and old — ever decide to multiply, I won’t have to divide them as I do with the asters. I’m still hoping for a lily forest. Apparently, it takes years for lilies to reach their full height, but a clearing in front of the lilies will help them and will help me help them.

As for what else I will plant — I’m not sure. I might just wait until spring and see if anything volunteers to grow in the area. Volunteers are those plants that grow on their own, sometimes seemingly appearing out of nowhere, though chances are they were seeds blown in on the wind or dropped from birds.

My favorite of these volunteers this summer has been the aptly-named heavenly blue morning glory. There have been one or two blooms every day for a couple of weeks now. I’m thinking of getting seeds and planting some on purpose next year, but sometimes, for me, the on-purpose plants don’t always grow as well as the volunteers.

Still, no matter what will go in the area I cleared today, there will be hope.


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.

Planting Day

Since this was going to be the last warm day for a while, perhaps until next year, I’d planned to spend the day planting the bulbs I’d ordered.

And I did . . . spend the day planting bulbs, that is. I am utterly exhausted, but the problem is, I only planted half the bulbs I ordered. The rest are lost in the black hole of the Denver postal system as so often has happened since I’ve moved here. Apparently, getting mail to the hinterlands is not a priority. And it’s not just the postal system. UPS recently lost a package, too.

I’m sure the bulbs aren’t lost, just waylaid, but by the time they get here, we’ll be in the midst of a rainstorm, according to the weather forecasters, so there’s no telling when I’ll be able to plant the bulbs. The sellers always urge haste in planting, but since there doesn’t seem to be much haste in getting them to me, I’m not sure how critical it is to get them in the ground right away.

According to the seller, “After arriving on a cargo ship and then clearing customs, the bulbs were transferred to a carrier service for delivery.” Considering the current cargo ship problem, the bulbs could have been in transit for months. I do know they’ve been in the USA for over a week, and it will be close to two weeks by the time I get them.

None of that indicates urgency to me, so when they get here, I’m going to take my time planting them. Luckily, despite the coming cold spell, the ground shouldn’t freeze, so that won’t be an issue. What could be an issue is my soreness — I probably overdid it today, and I am moving like a movie version of Frankenstein’s monster, but since I can’t do any work until the bulbs get here, I should have plenty of time to recuperate.

It was worth it, though, getting these bulbs planted. The lily trees take a few years to get established so they can grow to their full height, but someday I should have a lovely lily forest. (The lilies aren’t really trees, just very tall plants, a cross between trumpet lilies and Asian lilies.) And I planted tulips along a part of my path that’s out of the way so it will be a surprise seeing them when I turn the corner. I was particularly careful to plant them the necessary depth, so I have a good feeling about my chances of having tulips next spring.

Meantime, if I get antsy, am not hurting, and want to do some work outside until the rest of the bulbs get here, there is still a small section of the garden that needs to be prepared for wildflower sowing before the snows hit.

To be honest, I am stunned by the work I’ve done and am doing. I never planned it, and I certainly didn’t think I had the physical capability to do the work even if I had wanted to plan such a project. Still, by taking one step at a time, digging one shovelful of dirt at a time, clearing one foot of weedy grass at a time, I accomplished more than I ever imagined.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

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