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Gentle Gardeners

a tribute to my husband and my neighbor

We’ve lived in our home for twenty-two years. Matt was two when we moved in. Ben wasn’t even a glimmer in our minds yet.

My husband and I were still kids ourselves back then.

Our new yard was barren; trees were twigs; bushes were just sprouting. From the beginning, I loved the holly out front the original owners planted. I have cut many a sprig to adorn holiday decorations or to garnish the platters holding Frank’s bûche de Noël at Christmas-time for so many Christmases. The leaves of holly bushes are vibrant green, shiny, piercing edges with deep red berries. (Of course, there are only berries if you’ve planted properly with the right mix of female and male bushes, I’m told.)

Our home breathes and whispers the life we’ve made over our sons’ lives. Holidays, homework, quiet talks, music, art, drama, calm, friends, happiness and joy. I’ve loved the life we’ve built in this home.

As I sit now, in my comfortable bedroom chaise, looking out at white lilacs beginning to bloom under our bank of windows and the flowering white tree just beyond, I see my husband weeding his raspberries, wearing a gray fleece jacket to shun the cold on this gray mid-May Maine weekend day.

For several days this week, I’ve watched my neighbor out in her yard, a child-hood friend who has now been with me most of our fifty-odd years. She’s out on this chilly afternoon, like Frank, weeding, pruning, cleaning and discarding last fall’s leaves and sand from snowplows on her front lawn. These two – Frank and Martha – quietly, patiently, and with great love and care – slowly make their yards beautiful. They are long-term project types who slowly, methodically tend their beautiful lawns.

They are artists, these two. All they touch blossoms…like magic. They both possess an energy around living things that causes plants, flowers, vegetables and berries to thrive and flourish.

Where my inclination is toward sparse and spare, Martha leans toward abundance. Her side garden overflows with blossoms of all colors, rich, abundant, cascading.

Now these two move a little more stiffly – so many years of bending, kneeling, pulling, lifting. But still they’re out in the grass, touching, smelling the earth, listening to the sounds of nature outside, and making progress on making gorgeous their gardens, their yards.

I admire their talent, their commitment, the beautiful spaces they create and nourish.

Thank you to both my husband and my neighbor, Martha, for providing me, and all of us who bear witness, with such beauty and sustenance whether it’s with garden vegetables, herbs, or Martha’s roses – not an easy bloom to grow in our climate.

Thank you so very much. You’ve given me years of pleasure admiring your talent and appreciating your efforts.


Frank's garden, just planted

Tomatoes / Pinterest / from Gardening Know How

Blueberries / Pinterest

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