Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA this past week. MIA as in Missing in Arkansas. A few days after participating on the garden tour, I set out for the Delta Arts Festival and spent two days in the Batesville / Newport area with fellow Arkansas artists and authors. Now I’m preparing to spend five days in Piggott at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center with a group of authors and Ernest himself if he decides to inspire us with his presence. Just kidding about Ernest but it is an inspirational place to write.
This morning before I forget, I want to share my thoughts on the recent garden tour.
(FYI – This post is sponsored in part by The Sweet Bee Company which provided the t-shirt in the last picture.)
We survived. There were times I wasn’t sure we would. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but no kidding, there were many, many days in a row when I started working before I’d finished my coffee and didn’t finish until nearly sunset. John, too (minus the coffee).
My body is still recuperating.
I thought of Daddy and all those times he dragged himself home from the fields so tired he could barely stay awake to eat supper. And even though my backyard gardening doesn’t compare physically, mentally, or emotionally to row crop farming, I believe I got a teeny tiny taste of how tired he was on an easy breezy farm day. Maybe.
A Garden Will Never Be Perfect…
No matter how hard we try, a garden will never be perfect. Even so, there is perfection in nature.
I see perfection in the fronds of wood ferns as they miraculously unfurl.
I see perfection as blossoms open and face the sun as though worshipping.
And in the busy bees who know just where the sweetest nectar is waiting.
Even after the most exhausting and challenging day of moving mulch and transplanting hostas, a new morning in the garden always fills me with promise and possibility.
Maybe that’s why I can’t not do it?
Crazy Things Will Happen
Something I know for sure—a gardener can’t count on the lilies to bloom on the exact morning of the tour, but go ahead and bet your bottom dollar that something crazy and unpredictable WILL happen just when you think you have things under control.
For instance, you may have party crashers. The worst sort.
Exactly one day before tour, as though straight from the book of Exodus, a cloud of freshly hatched grasshoppers swarmed the daisies and coreopsis in our back beds. It was as though they’d heard about a party and wanted to get a primo seat.
Thank goodness for my next-door neighbor, Carolyn, who has more master gardening experience than I. After declaring, I’ve never seen anything like this, she recommended I spray the pests with a mixture of Dawn dishwashing soap and water.
The soapy mixture took care of the grasshoppers just in time for the tour. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to the blooms, and I had to deadhead them leaving nothing much blooming in that particular area.
Oh yes, there were a few unexpected thrills from the garden tour, too.
- I sold several copies of my book. This I never expected, but a certain docent (thank you Gail) insisted I make copies available on the porch. Then, she told everyone about it. ? Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful, y’all. I say it all the time.
- I heard a lady explain to her friend that she learned to peg her roses because of this blog post I wrote in May.?It’s nice to know people sometimes read what I write.
- Several people specifically came to see our butterfly garden because they read about it on the blog. Again—blog readers!
- Two of the ladies who work at White River Nursery came to visit their “babies” in their (our) permanent garden home. For four years, these ladies have sold us plants and helped answer our plant-related questions. Hearing them oooh and ahhh made us feel like good plant parents.?
- I saw people I’ve met at book clubs over the past few years. Friends we only see once or twice a year came. We chatted with neighbors and made some new gardening friends.? Fun. It really felt like a garden party but with no dirty dishes afterward!
Gardening and Writing
I’ve come to realize that gardening is not unlike writing.
I pull weeds and prune branches and edge grass and deadhead spent blooms. I edit paragraphs, delete words, expand thoughts, eliminate adverbs.
On the morning of the tour, we opened the garden gates to reveal a peaceful place, our tiny spot of heaven. As one guest said, your garden looks exactly like it should look.
And that’s much like reading a good book. After hours of writing and thinking and editing, a well-written story flows. The words, the sentences, the paragraphs—the book says exactly what it should say.
Both take effort. Both passions feed my soul.
Lucky me. ?
Thank you to the Flower, Garden and Nature Society of NWA and all the volunteers who spent countless time making the garden tour a success. If you live in Northwest Arkansas you should join! Meetings are typically at 10 am on the 3rd Saturday of each month at Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale.
And thanks to everyone who came to visit our garden, either in person or via this post.
Now, for the foreseeable future, I shall concentrate on writing.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.