Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Remains of the Day Lilies

As I start digging things up to pot them up for sale it is easy to get a bit maudlin thinking about the past.

I have tended this patch of earth for fifteen years. When I first planted this ground a shovel would not penetrate the surface. I used a pick axe to plant the first crop of perennial flowers this area was dedicated to. Today my shovel slid into the soil with ease.

This is how I garden. The remains are most often left behind to build the soil for the next plants to live here. I bring in the remains, mostly leaves, from many other sources and add them to the top of the soil as a mulch. In six months the remains have vanished. More will be applied when the soil is again exposed. The effect they leave in the soil is a ghostly reminder of the lives of plants past.

It may not be the tidiest way to garden or the most visually pleasing to the eyes of many. My plants however respond with a vigor and abundance that often obscures the ground completely and that is what my eye sees. I have been dividing and selling perennial flowers from this area for fifteen years and have never once deliberately fertilized this bed. Today my shovel slid into the soil with ease.

I expect that the grass that will be allowed to fill in on its own now will be quite lush, living on the Remains of the Daylilies and all the plants that came before.

I expect the same for my own life, growing lush on all the days that came before.


Annie in Austin said...

How could you not be at least a little sentimental about the past? Fifteen years is a long time! We've never stayed anywhere that long - but like you, know the joy of turning dirt into soil, and also had to leave the results for someone else. We didn't sell the plants from our last Illinois garden, but dug special favorites which now grow in gardens of friends and family.

I wonder if a daylily will surprise some future observer, reappearing and perhaps even blooming from a tiny piece left behind, even as you are in a new place, "growing lush on all the days that came before".

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I did a little ciphering this morning while I was tying my shoes, yep I can do both at the same time, and realized I have been living in this house for sixteen years as of December 1st 2006.

I think there will be all kinds of surprises popping up in this garden for the next folks. The seed bank alone contained in the mulch and soil is incredibly diverse.