Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lily of the Valley


I'd forgotten how good lily of the valley smells, until I helped my friend Kim remove a bunch that had overgrown a long bed beside her garage. The extra plants (LOTS - we're talking hundreds of what would be called "pips" or rooted plants) went into my car's trunk for the drive to my mother's house last Friday. Whooeee, did my car smell GOOD on that trip! Mom loved the plants, and I put them around their shaded driveway turnaround bed (a notoriously tough place for plants, under mature pine, oak, and maple trees). Hopefully they'll grow well for her. She's always wanted lots of them, and they're one of the few deer-proof low-maintenance plants we haven't tried in that location.

I've never had lily of the valley in my garden before - it's poisonous if ingested, and I was wary of having it in the yard when our kids were little. One, in particular, sampled all sorts of interesting things they found in the yard, including privet berries (another unhealthy choice, but fortunately no problem for them that time). But now that they're older, I decided it was time to have some of the marvelous fragrance gracing my yard too. I planted a corner of my shade garden with it, and I'm also trying it in a sunnier but still usually moist location that's tough for other plants.

I'm slowly learning my yard's microclimates, the nooks and crannies, exposed places and shadow lines where certain things will thrive and others will not. Some things are just finicky, and there's always the element of luck. I'm already looking forward to next year's garden, since so much of my yard is in its infancy. It won't look like much this year, a bit more next year, but it'll be a few years before it really starts to come together as a whole. The process is exciting.

Gardeners are dreamers, you know. Optimists who keep going in spite of the elements and accidents that are bound to thwart some of our efforts. The successes keep us going, and our continual hope for the best. Now I just need to practice hope in other areas of my life. God has blessed my garden overall; surely He's just as willing to bless my family. (And I don't mean in a strictly material sense - I mean in a "fruit of the Spirit" sense, since circumstances change, and prosperity is fickle, but our hope is in the Lord and in His purpose for our lives.)

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