Garden Share

Do you want to open your gate for a relationship that gives more than it takes? For everyone involved?

Talk about gardening beyond the backyard. Talk about what you’re growing with the neighbors on a pause in your walk around the block. Ask your mother what she’s growing when the generation gap seems to pull you apart. All of these ways have invited the wise gardeners of my community to share two of the richest gifts of their gardens—advice and plants.

Now, my intention has never been to seek a friendship for what I want to receive, but gardeners are natural givers.

My mom created a garden when her nest of seven children emptied. The park-like path dripped with sedum and creeping phlox up to a row of roses. The black-eyed susans and shasta daises brightened the stone wall. The water lilies bloomed in the small fish pond and beckoned every little toddler grandchild that visited. She researched and planned. My dad dug and reshaped. They planted together. And they shared the results.

In this garden of overflowing plants I received my first garden share—seven hosta they had divided and hid behind a tree. They offered, and I dug them up and planted my first garden. When I sold that house and moved away, I missed their garden of giving. So the next time I visited, I brought back a bucket of their black-eyed susans. They didn’t transfer well to my soil and my climate and died.

I opened my mouth about my misshapen and weedy second garden, and found two women to treasure, sisters who’ve become like my gardening grandmas. From them I’ve added cannas, phlox and roses to my garden alongside wisdom, knowledge and friendship.

Now, I’m in my third garden. And I’ve seen it grow with even more garden share additions.The newest ones I added this month have become my favorites—blue delphinium alongside yellow columbine.

I also spent a day with one of my gardening grandma’s, thinning out her Lilly of the Valley for my own benefit. I wanted to use them under our deck in a shady place where the grass won’t grow.

She shared the abundant growth of her garden to fill in my empty spaces and could only remember what I’d shared with her—weeding out the over-grown plants that crowded her hosta. She painted me this water-color picture of her grateful hosta.

The reciprocal sharing blessed us both. The older generation sharing growth and abundance. The younger sharing vitality and strength. A need for a need.

There’s a life lesson in what my neighbors said when I compared the delphinium I bought at a home center two years ago with the one they gave us last year, “The plants you get from friends will flourish better than the ones you get in a nursery.”

Can you see it?

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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca
    Jun 24, 2009

    I know there are benefits beyond the produce when you garden, and I’m certainly trying! But my heart is not in it! I really need to try harder! This is a lovely post.

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