Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gardening is Heartbreak

Cardinal Climber vine in bloom in my garden, October, 2011.

Early morning realization: 

I am mourning my garden. Still. 

I've lost more than half of my garden over the last few years. It began with hurricane Irene in August of 2011, continued with hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 and continued further with the Winter of 2013-2014, our first real Northeast winter in well over a decade (the first since our moving here to the coast in December of 2005). Plus we were 5 feet above normal for rainfall in 2011 and suffered drought & above normal temps in 2012. 

And it's time I begin dealing with my grief vs shoving it away and pretending it isn't there. 

I've often made reference to feeling betrayed by Mother Nature and it's true, I do. And that betrayal has hurt so deeply I've lost the joy, healing & comfort gardening always gave me before. I've been saying that this year I will reclaim those good feelings, but to be honest, right now I have my doubts.

Gardening was my Church. My connection. My therapist. My inspiration. My safe place in this world. 

When I look at the garden, when I even think about it, tight knots form in my chest & stomach. Much like what I felt for months once we found out my beloved was going to pass and even after he passed. 

Maybe I am even a little angry too. Not about my, but my garden, at Mother Nature.  

My roses, my favorite garden flower, have taken the biggest hit. I'm down to five from well over a dozen. I know that doesn't sound like much, but for my small space, it was more than enough. After this Winter, I've sadly added Pope John Paul II hybrid tea, in memory of my Nana (who very much admired Pope John Paul II), and Mardi Gras floribunda, my first non Knock Out rose (and one of the most beautiful in my garden) to the lost roses list. 

Oh and add Camellia 'April Blush' to the overall lost list too. She made it through this Winter fine until that last dip Ito the teens & 20s last month. 


I guess it's like the ole saying that goes something like, 'you know it's time to move when you've painted the house...'

Prior to hurricane Irene in August of 2011, my coastal garden was finished. There wasn't room for one more plant. I had attained my goal of making the garden not look like a container garden - it looked like a lush, full in-ground garden.  And I was blissfully happy with it! 

I should have known...

There's lots of cleaning out & up to do and re-potting what's left. Then it's time to start over. Again. Because I won't get over it until I do.

Is there something hurtful in your life that you've been avoiding that you could begin taking steps today towards healing? 


Deborah Aldridge said...

I've lost my garden before -- 2004, the hurricanes from hell year for Florida. I lost the top out of the oak tree that my shade garden was under. I had no way to fix it before most of them fried -- that is, those that weren't drowned by weeks of never-ending rain or destroyed by the wind. My yard was never the same after that. It just killed something in me.

Jo said...

Overall this experience, along with the fear factor of the hurricanes, definitely changed me. Makes me sad.

Jennifer said...

I am sorry Jo. I see beautiful gardens and dream of that, they are so much work and so incredible. I understand what it's like to lose something and miss it so much, and actually grieve it. This is a silly example but in my crazy decluttering a few months ago I got rid of some Japanese swords, which I regretted almost immediately. I would love to have them back but I guess I just have to accept that they're gone.

Jo said...

From my bff G:
I don't have time to post a comment on your blog, but wanted to let you know that I really LOVED the latest post (about mourning your garden). It's so true that we need to go through the healing process instead of just telling ourselves to move on.

Jo said...

Jennifer, it's not silly because those things meant something to you. And I do get that even though the world says not to love or value "things" but they are a part of us and who we are.

For many of us gardeners, our gardens are more than just about the plants.

Gardening was my Church. My connection. My therapist. My inspiration. My safe place in this world.

Losing that is awful. It changes who you are inside and the world around you.