Barbara McKinney: Saved from the mundane

Barbara McKinney: Saved from the mundane

It’s unbelievable that November has arrived, so I was panicking today. The backyard garden, which extends three-quarters of the house’s length, is now a complete forest. Several years ago, the talented Sam designed the garden, with a beautiful stone walkway and special flowering plants – some gifts, mostly old ones from my grandmother – all in their special places.

Long story short: With determination, Sam was done. Taking care of the garden was my job. I did well for a while, but life and career intervened, so I didn’t spend my time in the yard garden. As we know, once plants are settled and happy, they thrive, as do neighboring grasses and weeds.

Today, a beautiful fall afternoon inspired me to make some sort of foray into the barnyard woods, so I bravely set out, armed with gloves, shears, a hook knife, huge, sturdy trash bags, and a wheelbarrow. Matilda the cat, the sane one here, jumped onto the courtyard wall to watch.

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In my defense, the garden is filled with four huge hostas, a couple of flowering roses, a flowering almond, countless irises and daylilies, autumn sedums, grandma’s special peonies, summer phlox, lupins, a shrub or two, and patches of periwinkle carpet in every Place – it all needs to be divided and transplanted. Weeds and weeds permeate everything!

Mustering my courage, I began cutting down the monster hosta, hoping that the recent frost had discouraged any lurking snakes because I couldn’t see the ground in all the chaos. I pulled, cut, cut, coughed, sneezed, and said bad words for about an hour. But as I looked back to be proud of what I had accomplished, a huge thorn snatched me away. I glanced at Matilda, who closed her gorgeous green eyes, so we decided to be sensible and go inside.

Matilda settled into her favorite chair for a nap, but I decided not to be completely outdone. I moved the two pots of amaryllis to the garage plant rack and doused them with flower-enhancing fertilizer. Then I pulled out one of Grandma’s old chairs to repair, sand and paint. Thank goodness, at some point I noticed the afternoon sun filtering through the huge sugar maple tree under the bank of the garage.

The woods around the house are always beautiful, no matter the color level of the season. This afternoon, the red and yellow maples, sourwoods, native dogwoods, beech trees, and hickories—all dappled with afternoon sunlight—reminded me that in the midst of life’s often harrowing chaos, beauty and calm can find us if we pay attention. Although this sounds happy, I appreciate the reality of the matter today.

    (tags for translation) botany

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