July 02, 2012

Secret Garden.

I grew up in apartments and thus when I purchased my first house, I had no experience in gardening. Furthermore, I had no true inclinations or any kind of emotional or practical association with a garden, not even plants. It was my mom and my sister who had the green thumb, not me. All I recall from my childhood was my mother tending to the few potted plants we had at home, changing the dirt in the spring on our balcony or patio.

My parents did live for a few years in a townhouse with a tiny backyard, which they slowly transformed into a tranquil hideaway. By that time I no longer lived at home and thus could follow the progress in growth and development every time I came to visit.
Therefore fueled by my parents enthusiasm, the two terraces of my former home became a play ground for me in terms of my gardening experimenting.

I can in no way claim to be an experienced or skillful gardener, a far cry from that I must admit. The limited knowledge I posses today was born mostly out of my mistakes. If anything, I am a perceptive gardener - I go with my feelings and intuition. Additionally I follow one simple advice I heard once spoken by an expert on a garden television show;  give a plant food, water and sun - or no sun, depending on its natural habitat.
Indeed in time I realized that is really all one needs to know. Taken together with a joy, interest and genuine love for plant life, anyone can tend to a garden and make it flourish and prosper.

The garden of my dreams is a wild and untamed one, almost a secret garden. A lush and secluded spot, which when entered feels enchanted. I am not a fan of meticulously maintained flowerbeds and trimmed bushes. To me the most beautiful is that which gets to grow free and unrestricted, creating tranquil oases, hidden from view, scented by natural perfumes. One day perhaps I will have my dream come true - until then I tend to the garden of my reality. And without any doubt, it is the only real asset of our old house.

Despite the fact that my father in law is an avid and extremely skillful gardener, my husband has no interest whatsoever in plants. To him gardening is just a bunch of boring chores, such as mowing the lawn and trimming the hedge. Thus when I moved in with him, I got the freedom and privilege to do whatever I pleased when it came to our yard.

To transform a neglected place to a lovely garden takes years and we might not even live here by then. Still, currently the outdoors offers the best therapy and seems to be the perfect recipe to cure my temporary sadness and loneliness. There is nothing like planting something and watching it grow and thrive. I take immense joy in looking after the plants and I survey them each day, looking for small changes that might have occurred over night. It gives me such a great satisfaction when the sun is out and I can tend to all the life that seems to spire and excel outside my home.

I can sense that our garden has already been established once, I only had to revive that which was already there - a multitude of roses, lilies, hollies, hollyhocks and scented shrubs. I added a few potted plants and flower baskets to our patio and planted a few vines to transform it into a lush and tranquil spot. I am also currently experimenting with seeds, which promise to grow into scented bloom attracting butterflies. Tending to our garden this way, I leave small souvenirs for the future occupants of the house. An imprint of my time here. Hopefully they will rejoice in the bloom I introduce just as I enjoy the the work of our predecessors. 

Gardening is like exercise - it must become a way of life, or it looses it's allure and is impossible to maintain. To me though there is nothing more magical than the outdoors. Plant and animal life and natural beauty holds almost a primal affection in my perception as the connection with nature is ancient and contained within my genes. I have always found solace and affirmation in its pristine beauty and will continue to see all natural life as an endless source of miracles and enchantment.

(All images in this post are taken in our garden, June 2012)

21 comments:

ladyfi said...

Oh, you have lovely roses!

I don't like gardening but I do love flowers!

Elizabeth said...

This place is becoming a sacred haven. It looks gorgeous, good work.

Donna said...

To me, gardening is therapy. Couldn't live without it.

Brian Miller said...

nice....your garden is lovely and its like a spiritual thing to shape and create life like that...i like it a little wild and untamed myself...haha...maybe a little shaping but....i def like a house over an apartment...it is more work but...

hey we are surviving...it was 104 again today...the weather man was wrong...brutal heat but we are in cooling shelters most of the day and they are providing fluids as well...a little hard on the boys by days end but...

Mimi said...

"I take immense joy in looking after the plants and I survey them each day, looking for small changes that might have occurred over night."
Zuzana, I love these words, your love of plants coming through in each word.
Roses are my all-time favourite flower; I've just finished making a batch of rose petal jam and it is yummy!
The old lady who owned our house before us, was a good gardener, and I'm still enjoying the fruits of her labour 19 years on. She has passed on, but I often think of her when I'm in the garden, and send her spirit some thanks.
I'm so glad you're enjoying your garden in the absence of your husband.

Mimi said...

Zuzana, that video clip on my blog is of me playing an excerpt from Riverdance with the band last week.
Not sure if you realised it, and I've updated it.

sprinkles said...

My mom had a garden when I was a kid. She always grew things, like turnips, that I didn't much care for. So I never really got into gardening.

Now I live on my own and my mom always has a disapproving look whenever she comes over and sees my yard. She and my father have lectured me endlessly about taking better care of it. Finally, they stopped because I guess they realized it was going in one ear and out the other.

I do have some lovely rosebushes left over from the previous owners. They've grown out of control and I can't seem to keep up with them, no matter how much I trim them down. After working on one bush for about 2 hours, my neighbor said he couldn't even tell I'd done anything to it!

I went on a garden tour just over a week ago and really enjoyed it. At the first house we went to, there was so much to see that it was easy to overlook things. I caught myself rushing through, then made myself slow down and really look at the fine details. I'm glad I did, because I think I enjoyed it much more.

Sandy said...

Neither of my parents were into gardening. When I was young a neighbor gave us kids some seeds to grow a little flower bed behind our house. I remember how much I enjoyed that...the sad thing was we moved just before the flowers bloomed. Bummer! My Hubby hates to do yard work (sort of how I feel about grocery shopping) so I don't ask too much of him. I have the desire by it's hard on my old body. Slowly we are getting the landscaping done mostly by hiring the experts. I do enjoy my flower boxes - at least that is something I can handle. LOL! Enjoy your new yard and garden Zuzana!

Rahul Bhatia said...

This is one of the best essays I read on Gardening! I too love the wild unhindered growth of jungles and wait for their calls to visit them once in a while, away from madding crowds:)

Slamdunk said...

Lovely images Zuzana. At our house, the Mrs. has the gardening knowledge and I am the "haul this", "cut that" "water these", and "mow here" guy. I still get to enjoy the final colorful product though.

LadyCat said...

Your flowers are lovely! I'm not a gardener, but my hubby really enjoys it.

Susan Deborah said...

My mum and in laws love gardening. I like looking at spaces with plants but don't actually get down to doing work. I do buy plants but my husband and in laws take care and tend to it.

I loved seeing the vibrant pictures of your garden, dear Zuzana.

Joy always,
Susan

Rajesh said...

I am aware of your love for nature and your garden has always been beautiful.

A Lady's Life said...

I love gardening too but haven't done any in a while.
Plants love to be fussed over and talked to and loved.
In return they give you more than you bargained for in color, fragrance and beauty not to mention, depending on what you plant,medicinal qualities and food for the table.
Lots can be done with plants but you need patience and a place to do it in undisturbed.

Marianne said...

Hello Zuzana

Like you I have just recently come to gardening and the garden here is my first proper garden - one I tend and create myself. Luckily, it had wonderful bones when we moved here, but had suffered neglect and needed careful tending to revive it and bring it to its best. Getting there slowly. As you say, it is wonderful therapy. I hope you will soon be together with your husband x

Myrna R. said...

The only reason you can write about such beauty, so beautifully is because you're a beautiful person.

And I see evidence of a green thumb.

What a pleasant post Zuzana. I get inspired to love my plants more intensely, with more appreciation. Thank you.

Maggi said...

Your hard work is certainly paying off. Beautiful results.

Michael Manning said...

Zuzana: You just might find yourself surprised some weeks or months down the road when your husband takes note of your creation and asks about it!

Since you always send me these, I will to: xoxoxo and Happy 4th of July! :D)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Zuzana--You have settled into a lovely place! I love your flowers! My husband also has no interest in gardening, but I love puttering around in my garden. I contend with many tress and lots of shade, so I carefully plant things that I hope will benefit from a little sunny spot! This summer we are experiencing terrible drought--my front lawn is "crunchy" when I walk on it, even though I water it most days! Fireworks are banned today because of burn ban and wildfire danger, but they will have a wonderful display downtown over the river!

SandyCarlson said...

You are an inspiration to me, my friend. I will try to garden a little at a time in this exotic, tropical world I now call home. Thank you for being an inspiration.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I have grown to ADORE gardening..an escape from other things and it pays off with such wonder and beauty. This post is beautiful.