I’m a Taurus. Astrologists say that we are earth people. Grounded. This may explain my joy of gardening. Earthworms, bugs, or buzzing bees do not bother me. The never-ending growth of weeds or the avalanche of autumn leaves do not bother me. I am not even bothered by my occasional pollen-induced sneeze or watery eyes (I have medication for that). What bothers me is not being able to spend time in the garden.
That has been my plight the last few years. But my dear friends, who are somewhat up in age, helped me to course-correct when they mentioned that they were looking for someone to take care of their gardens. I jumped at the opportunity, and I mean jumped. They explained there would be weeding, planting, pruning, deadheading, and watering. With each function, my spirit soared higher, evident by my widening grin. They added that there were four gardens on their property to tend.
What? Only four? I thought.
My first day at play -I mean- on the job, I collected the tools and got right down into the soil of the garden number one -still moist from an overnight shower- and began to extract stubborn weeds. The sweet aroma of flowering plants in various stages of bloom, and the occasional interruption of my peace by the whir of a breeze, buzz of a bee, or flutter of a monarch increased my joy. Even the thorny rosebush that pricked my finger and pulled at the strands of my hair when snuck my head under it to reach for the weeds that sort its protection, did not dampen my mood; much. The sudden pain did cause me to utter an expletive, but I quickly reverted to my happy place.
About two hours later, my friends came out to check on me.
“Take a break,” they chorused.
“I’m doing great!” I replied.
“It’s hot. Take a break. Get some water,” Peter (not his real name) said.
“Please,” his wife added.
“I’m ready for the potted plants you want planted,” I told them.
They reluctantly brought them to me and together, we determined where each would go. For the next hour, I dug holes, planted, fertilized, and watered. I did not care about the sweat pouring down my face nor my soaked clothing. I simply wanted the plants to be settled and comfortable in their new homes.
The following week, I worked on the next garden. And the next. And the next. Then it was back to the first to make sure the plants were well-fed, watered, and their beds were not overrun by new weeds. It didn’t take long for more pretty, luscious, colorful flowers to appear. Payback for the love and care they were receiving.
A few weeks later, surgery with a six-week recovery period forfeited my tending to my friends’ gardens. Once again, I was heartbroken. My friends, who were enjoying their daily splendor of color and neighborly compliments, were also unhappy about my health, both physical and emotional.
During my recovery, they sent me a couple of cards. One was about the gardens. It stated:
“We have named the gardens ‘The Resuscitation Gardens.’ So many flowers have produced new growth. Thanks to you!”
Those touching words did a lot for my mental and physical wellbeing. To everyone’s delight, especially mine, I was back in my Resuscitation Gardens six weeks to the day I left.
By Beverley Byer