A Garden Begins To Mature

A garden begins to seem mature when...
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...you realize that thirty foot Cypress...
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...was a two gallon two-footer...
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...you planted yourself.
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When you realize you have three different roses, each planted several years apart, from different hybridizers, with different names...
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...that all look alike.

A garden begins to seem mature when things start to get crowded.
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When you don't sweat the small stuff...
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...when you finally realize those mysterious little holes are dug by the lizards, to lay their eggs.  
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When there's more shade then there used to be.
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When the plants have a lot more flowers than they used to have.
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When unexpected seedlings simply appear.
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When failures no longer quite hurt so much.

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When the pattern of the year is familiar and predictable, and flowers that appear briefly every June are greeted as old friends, and compared to past years.
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Yes, better this year...
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When you simply walk up to a plant and rip it out of the ground and trash it and never look back, because you are done with it, forever and ever.
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When unintentional beauty arises, and you are grateful.
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When you can give a cutting to a friend who gave you the plant as a cutting in the first place, because her copy died, which is why she gave it to you to begin with.  You start doing that, too.    
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When you see the reddish tips of one plant match the reddish tips of another, and visitors say, "How clever of you!", and you know it was an accident.  Okay, that has nothing to do with the maturity of a garden, but it's cool.
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When you realize a plant has faithfully grown without any help from you for a decade, and you wonder why the whole garden can't do that.  
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When certain weeds become mortal enemies.  
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When you have suddenly plenty to share.
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When you've learned when it's time to give up on a plant.
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When you are on your next generation of dog.
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That is when the garden begins to mature.  


  1. I like the unexpected seedling and in some ways (but not toners) the second generation of dog.

    1. Dogs I am sure will eventually evolve into living longer. Then they will eventually take over, and we'll all be the better for it.

  2. Excellent post! (yes, except for the second generation of dog part) I love what you did with the Cypress photos.

    1. I think sometimes dogs need to start living as long as humans, but then I remember Hoover, and...oh dear! He was a handful.

  3. At the risk of underlining the obvious, it may not be so much that the garden is beginning to mature as that the gardener is beginning to mature.
    The garden teaches us as much by what fails as by what succeeds. Every so often I make myself think back to what used to be in the spots where stuff is thriving now--plants that were wrong in one way or another for where I'd stuck them. Some find places elsewhere--a much traveled cotinus coggyria is finally happy in its fourth location. Others, like your grey santolina, get terminated with extreme prejudice. I'm not sure I could have done that even a few years ago. It's not so much that the garden has changed itself; it's that it changed me.

    1. Yes our "eye" gets better and better. Or at least I hope it does. That's part of the fun!

  4. I was thoroughly enjoying this post until I got to the picture of your mortal enemy. Suddenly my good mood faded and I was flooded with memories of hours spend on my knees pulling out little seedlings from my neighbor's Washingtonia robusta . . . from the look of it, I think you can relate.

  5. A wonderful post of images and your thoughts and words dear Hoover.
    xoxoxo ♡

  6. What onederw said! And after only six years I absolutely relate to: "...simply walk up to a plant and rip it out of the ground and trash it and never look back," (an action I took just today.)

    This is one of your really great posts, Hoover, and you've had some excellent ones. I so enjoy them!

  7. Brilliant post, very apt and succinct. Though I offer this note: for some of us, the garden gets full a lot earlier than all the other stuff happening. Not sweating the small stuff, happy accidents, and gratitude for unexpected beauty are all especially resonant for me.


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