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.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denials into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Part of my new morning ritual is to read daily a book I discovered quite serendipitously: Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
She shared the quote above – so beautiful, so true- and a challenge to note five reasons to be grateful each day.
Some mornings I can be in solitude to read my book and note the previous days gratitudes, although this morning, Mon Cœur was up with me. First she scribbled her gratitudes in my journal, then I reminded her about her journal and she noted her gratitudes there.
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.
“The garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature.”
As I was looking at pictures for this post, I realized that as I document, I need to take photos from a similar spot and zoom out to take larger scope pictures. (see below. oops!)
Seems like a metaphor for my life. Sometimes I focus so much on the smallest details (often negative!), that I lose sight of the big picture and all the other (often positive!) transformations that are happening in the corners. I get so caught up in doing that I don’t step back to see all the improvements that have been made.
With the rain we’ve received the past few days, I have been able to go out for a morning walk and look at the garden as a whole and then focus and marvel at the blooms, the wildlife, and the transformations happening right before our eyes.
Our garden has gone through some drastic changes since the beginning. I didn’t notice this until I started looking back at where we had begun. The pictures in this post are from Fall 2019 and Spring 2021. It is amazing how the small projects we have done over the seasons has accumulated to become what the garden is now.
The garden entrance was just a bleak set of granite pillars welcoming guests into a garden of dirt mounds. Then we added flowers throughout the blank slate. Mon Cœur and I transplanted some mint to surround to pillars. It has multiplied significantly in less than one year, and I want to transplant more because it spreads almost as quickly as a weed, only it is more fragrant and has blooms that will attract pollinators!
Chou Chou added a Japanese Maple to the left of the entrance, which as it grows over the years, he will train to arch over the entrance.