Looking back at where we started and where we are. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. And Winston.
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
A year ago we plated four deer-proof, beautiful perennials: pulmonary, dianthus, columbine and yarrow. Here’s a quick update on how they are doing:
Pulmonaria – “Shrimp on the barbie”
Ah! How I love to hear Mon Cœur look at this plant and say, “Oh mom, the Shrimp on the Barbie is beautiful!”
I am loving the blooms this year. Of the three pulmonaria, the one that receives the most shade has grown and bloomed the most. We continue to pinch all spent blooms and it has been a consistent bloomer since the beginning of April.
Dianthus – “Romance”
These were a great bloomer last year and were blooming at Mother’s Day. It bloomed a little later this year, and in abundance!
Columbine – “Winky Double Red/White”
This was not the first casualty in our garden, and it certainly won’t be the last. The columbine did not last through the summer despite constant watering and care. I had it in a full sun spot, and believe that is why it didn’t do so well.
In its place, I have planted American Boneset, a native which I found through Good Seeds RVA. It is a sun loving, clay tolerant, deer resistant, perennial that will spread over time. I am looking forward to seeing it grow.
Yarrow – Milly Rock™ Rose
I have spied the Yarrow sprouted throughout the garden, in various places volunteer, although it is a native from our road. Unfortunately this has not come back as vigorously as it was when I planted it last year…
I had originally planned to dig up the canna bulbs for winter, and then life happened…So I was really quite surprised and thrilled to see little sprouts of canna leaves beginning to emerge in mid-April. These babies have really multiplied since the picture above.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Even as we approach a milestone birthday for Mon Amour, I am pausing to remember sweet Millie, and all mommas for whom this day is a day of remembrance for their little angels.
It has been a struggle for us- we all miss Millie and we all wish she were here with us.
We talk about events and date them in the context of Millie. “Oh, that wedding, it was after Millie.” “Oh, MC’s baptism? That was while I was pregnant with Millie.”
It is hard to believe that this coming May, she would be three. We have sat with this grief for almost two and a half years now, and in some ways it has become easier and in other ways it’s still difficult to navigate.
We continue to grieve differently. I find ways to try to celebrate and remember her every day. I am planning fall additions to and maintenance in her garden.
MC talks a lot about her and envisions heaven as a place where we can fly in a plane to visit her and Poopa. It breaks my heart to explain to her every time that heaven is a place not to visit, but to go and reunite with loved ones when it’s one’s time.
If you are remembering a little angel today, you are in my thoughts and heart.
While the original idea for our butterfly garden came from a great personal loss and tragedy for us, we have celebrated our lives and Millie just by being in the space, working, playing, eating, and meeting there.
It is so hard to believe that Millie would have been two this year. As I was looking back at pictures, I was amazed to see the changes we have made in the garden in less than two years.
I will be sharing these “before and afters” in a new series titled (ah-ha!) “Before | After”, although it’s not a before and after. Millie’s garden is a work in progress. There is definitely a before, although the after will always change. So I decided it would be best to label the pictures by the year they were taken.
Millie’s Garden has been a multitude of spaces – a place to find peace. A place to meander, listen to chimes, and be close to nature. A laboratory – experimenting with plantings, cuttings, and seedlings. Outdoor physical therapy – a place to dig, plant, water, and weed. An entertainment spot – a place for picnics, tea parties, and hide and seek games. A place to think, to laugh, to cry, to be.
I’m not sure when the hide and seek started, but as every great toddler “hider” does, MC found one spot. And she kept hiding there. So we started calling it her peek a boo rock. It has also served as a bank and a restaurant, where I would “order” and pay at the “counter.”
Fall of 2019 was the great granite set up. We were moving earth and stone to create the general landscape of Millie’s garden. Sometime shortly thereafter, MC claimed this as her rock, her peek a boo, hide out.
We planted daffodils, the petit kind (tête à tête) which bloomed early spring of 2020…We also planted a mum in the fall of 2019. Friends gave us a pretty purple petit butterfly bush on Millie’s first anniversary, which we added in Spring of 2020, and in Spring of 2021, when we split our rudbeckia, we added one next to the mum.
In Spring of 2021, we bedded in the rudbeckia, mums, daffodils, and butterfly bush around the rock, and we planted a spring blooming camellia “Professor Sargent” behind the rock.
As much as we want to keep adding, our current to-do for the garden is creating a new garden map, and evaluating each area for height and season needs. After re-evaluating the garden, we can revisit and edit our wishlist for the garden.