Saturday, May 03, 2014

Guilt and Redemption in the Spring Garden

Every once in awhile I succumb to guilt when it comes to my garden. A prime example is the hosta above, given to me by good friends three years ago. I'd raved about the gorgeous hosta flourishing next to their front walk every time we visited, its deep green leaves looking like an artist had swiped them down the center with a white brushstroke. When they divided it to keep it in its happy state, they gave me a small cutting to plant in our shady back yard.

The poor thing had a rough first year, putting out a few thin leaves that looked battered and wan, and the guilt started growing as the little hosta seemed to struggle. Our friends never commented when they came to visit, though I imagined they positioned their lawn chairs so they wouldn't have to look at it, regretting their decision to give their offspring to an obviously abusive home.

The second year wasn't much better, though I tried to convince myself that the little hosta had put out a few more leaves. At one point, and admittedly this is a shamefully desperate ploy, I even thought about looking for an identically painted nursery plant to put in its place if it died. But this year—and I always forget that perennials usually take at least three years to get established—it looks like we've both turned a corner, the hosta in its health and me in my guilt. It's much bigger and even has a new set of leaf stalks coming up.

Now? I can't wait to have our friends over for cocktails in the back yard and toast its future…with maybe a little redemption for the guilt-ridden gardener.

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