Planting the Garden

In fall, after a summer of dreaming, the time for decision had arrived. What to plant?

I began with the plants I loved to paint — wildflowers, nandina bushes with red berries, hydrangea bushes, my favorite tulip that looks like a peony — the Angelique, ferns, and Lenten roses. A small local nursery became my favorite haunt.

I discovered jack-in-the-pulpit plants growing in the woods along a walking path and collected their red seed clusters to plant in three different garden locations to see where they would flourish. My aunt’s Lenten rose seedlings went in under the dogwood tree.

After a busy fall of planting, winter settled in. What would spring bring? What would survive and flourish? My secret, walled garden is now in its third summer. Jack-in-the-pulpits sprouted in all three locations, but in one corner they are triple the size of the other jacks. The hydrangea bushes are thriving, but I needed to move one from under the dogwood tree. The ferns love it wherever they are planted.

The garden is alive with wildlife, but no one is eating the tulips. The baby wrens chatter away in my old birdhouse. The chipmunk scurries about looking for seeds. The robins splash vigorously in my bubbling birdbath. The squirrels have not yet figured out the bird feeder. The cardinals can eat in peace.

I have decided that calling my walled garden a “secret garden” is misleading. To anyone who opens the gate or sits in my living room, it is no secret what a delightful place it is.