As I worked on the form to register our garden with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I stopped at the question asking for the name of our garden. I’ve read a lot of garden books (well, at least I looked at the pictures) and have encountered some pretentious garden names created by authors who perhaps wanted to appear a little more upscale.
We’ve visited Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, the North Carolina Arboretum in Chapel Hill, and we frequent JC Raulston Arboretum, our favorite “hold hands and stroll” place. Those names make perfect sense once the origins of the gardens are understood.
Shawn and I enjoyed our one-day tour of Butchart Gardens in British Columbia though with all the tour busses and cruise ships docked nearby I encountered far more humans than my comfort zone could tolerate. Robert Butchart manufactured Portland cement which requires much limestone, and the garden, a project originated by his wife, Jennie, in 1909 resides on the site of a defunct limestone quarry. Ownership of the aptly-named garden remains in the Butchart family today.
What do we name our garden?
Front Garden and Back Garden may give Shawn a clue as to my location, but those names miss the mark. Tagging the plantings as Beds 1, 2, 3… creates more confusion. Are we starting in the front and proceeding clockwise or what?
On occasion our neighbors might have seen one or both of us hanging out an upstairs window with a camera. We do that because we’ve learned that nothing helps in planning and laying out the garden like the big picture. By snapping adjacent shots then printing, cutting and combining those segments we can create the big picture. With that panorama in hand we can sit at the table and discuss changes before we move dirt. While discussing one of our big pictures and perusing several garden design books we uncovered the benefits of designing and installing paths through the gardens.
Paths give a place for feet to tromp other than the flower beds. We’ll do an article soon on our paths and share the various materials and techniques we’ve used. Paths work, and the gardens have fallen into place along the meandering routes.
As we pondered the collection of paths Shawn and I knew the perfect garden name – Paths of Hope!
Hope? Yes. No one gardens without hope. That state of thought drives us forward, planning and pruning, mulching, and digging. Guests to our home today will find a large folding table and grow light crowding the dining room. Seedlings are joyfully doing their thing on that table, and we check on them multiple times a day. Enter the garage/shop and find a functioning hotbed with another collection of seedlings.
Are we obsessed? Maybe. But we have hope that the five varieties of cosmos and the cactus flower zinnias will draw the pollinators. Our tiny tomatoes may one day support a crop large enough to stock our table and those of our neighbors. And the peppers just have to produce. Granddaughter Fern started a tradition last summer pulling fresh peppers and eating them right in the garden.
Certainly life is busy. Gardening is work. And sometimes the porch swing seems a better choice. But hope comes alive in the garden so we keep on digging and planting and tending.
Let your mind wrap around these words of hope:
My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
Psalms 62:5-6 NASB
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. Psalms 130:5-6 NASB
Now, come on. Fill your bucket with hope, and get in the garden.