The Element Of Surprise
I spend so much time in the garden I'm rarely surprised by an unexpected flower. I spot the buds and know the flowers will soon unfurl. A bloom appearing suddenly without my observing its development is rare. Yesterday morning's Iris was one. Surprise! An unexpected delight. This one hardly blooms--it was in a bad spot. I moved it last fall, and yesterday it rewarded--and surprised me.
A bit small, but considering it's February...
Everything is a surprise to a new gardener. I got some roses in the mail today, and worked hard to get them into the ground without delay. While digging, I recalled the first roses I planted in this garden eleven years ago. I would go out daily and watch them grow, count flower buds, worry, eagerly anticipate. I don't do that much any more. It's not the amazing and exciting thing it used to be. It's not so--surprising. I know I can grow roses now. I know what will happen and when. Is being experienced the same as being jaded? Is surprise necessary?
'Easy Does It' x 4:
Coming around a corner, encountering a twist in a path, and suddenly seeing something unexpected is an element of good garden design. Unexpected is different than something oddly out of place. I've mastered the oddly-out-of-place in the garden. I need the unexpected, another form of surprise. I still have plenty to work on and improve. I'll be surprised if I ever get it right.
If you think these are dirty, you should see my knees:
Realizing how long you've gardened and how much your perspective (and your soil) has changed is a surprise. I used to carefully amend soil with compost before I planted roses, and put a couple of tablespoons of triple super phosphate into the planting hole, and add fertilizer in with the soil, and have to dig and redig to get the hole just the right depth and width. Now I dig right into the soil, which is much changed after eleven Februarys of mulching, and add nothing.
Earthworms have thoroughly incorporated eleven years of compost mulch into the soil, and little effort is required. I still have some trouble getting the planting hole wide enough, and now I find a root or two from other plants. How much more difficult it used to be.
Realizing you can still be surprised by plants is a surprise. The other day I found a tiny Alocasia tucked into a pot of Anigozanthos. That pot of Anigozanthos has been in the garden for four or five years, not growing all that much, but reliably blooming every year. How did an Alocasia get in there? Is that weird or what? Another mystery: the last time, a few years ago, yesterday morning's Iris bloomed, it was a flat uniform pink, and without the veining and apricot color it had yesterday. How could it have possibly changed?
Mystery is a surprise, and in the long haul, gardening without question gets more mysterious, not less!