We Islanders are an interesting lot in the springtime. As soon as the sun even dares to peek from behind its cloud curtain of winter, we have put on our flip-flops, pulled out our summer clothes and started digging in the garden. Neither Markus nor I are free of this early spring affliction as it is only the end of March and we already have spent hours in our garden. It is strange for me to say “our” garden as I normally function as the head hole digger and weed puller but this year I have decided to play an active gardening role and plant my own style of garden.
For those of you who have not witnessed Markus’ garden you are missing out on seeing the most well behave and well organized greenspace in town. All his plants are like little soldiers in perfect lines and equally spaced apart – I honestly wouldn’t doubt if they can sing their own anthem! They grow on his command and produce to please him. Not a weed dares to enter the confines of his greenhouse and if a careless wire worm so much as glances at his tomatoes it is eradicated in a quick and efficient manner with an onslaught of nematodes. Markus grows food. Food for us and food for our diners. If you can’t eat it, it has no place in his garden. I, on the other hand, grow feelings and memories.
I really dislike having a lawn. It is forever needing to be cut in the spring and watered in the summer. Since we have a limited space on our lot I have decided to rip up the lawn. Slowly but surely, our lawn is disappearing and being replaced with memories, sentiments and convictions of my life.
Can plants represent a time in your life that you don’t want to forget? Sure they can, at least for me they can. Take the rows of sweet peas I am planting. The slightest whiff of a sweet pea bloom transports me back 25 years to my great grandpa’s beautiful garden in Saskatchewan. If I close my eyes while inhaling the flower’s scent, I can feel the warm, black earth of his garden underneath my bare feet as I run past the curtain of sweet peas to loot his raspberry patch. For this same reason, have a lilac bush that I planted in memory of my grandma. The simple scent of its flowers brings tears to my eyes as I mentally revisit the warm June days picking bouquets of it for her and the way she made that bunch of flowers seem like the best gift she had ever been given.
In addition to the “tear jerker” category of plants I am also planting a Bee friendly garden. After reading “The Incomparable Honeybee; The Economics of Pollination”, by Dr. Reese Halter (which I recommend that everyone reads) I was so impacted by the importance of honey bees and bees in general on the feeding of humans and existence of the world, that I decided to do what I can to help. Bees hold our futures in their wings and we hold theirs in our hands. Without bees there is no pollination which in the long run equals no food for the beings on earth. So I am making a stand for the diminishing numbers of bees by planting plants that they flourish on and by having a non-stinging mason bee hive to help with the garden’s pollination. I even bought a pad of graph paper and tried to plan out each square inch of my bee garden the way Markus does with all his pristine raised beds. Unfortunately, by the time I got the lawn ripped out I had lost my sketch and now it is a more “flowing” garden than a structured one! I realize that my little garden will not replenish the bees numbers of the world but if we all had a small bee garden it would make a difference!
I guess my garden’s style can be classified as a sentimental yet practical one that not only feeds the bees and but the soul as well. Between both Markus’ and my garden we hopefully will have all of our bases covered by being feed and happy!