Imagination is the living power and prime agent of all human perception.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I’ve rearranged the furniture in the backyard – again. As I clean up from winter, re-plant, re-pot, compost, sow seeds and generally putter, I change arrangements of pots and artifacts. I move whirly gigs, hanging pots, rocks, and even actual furniture. One gardener’s sublime arrangement is another gardener’s kitschy crap.
This Spring cleaning exercise is a way for me to slowly re-tone my muscles after Winter’s idleness, and to become reacquainted with the place I last spent time in during the waning days of Autumn. It’s also a way for me to awaken my imagination from its Winter hibernation. In the process, I re-imagine what I call my 20 Year Plan. I have a vision of a white garden in the back corner, beneath the mature California pepper tree. I’ve got a thunbergia doing quite well where I literally dumped it 20 years ago after digging it up from the front yard. I’ve planted some white creeper, a couple of lavenders and my struggling brunfeslia may have found it’s final resting place.
I will, one day, re-excavate the stairs going down the back slope to the gate that opens onto the unfenced back lot that tilts ever steeply down to the creek at the bottom – no more than a slightly damp dry wash for most of the year. Two tall branches of my rebellious black bamboo are now being trained to bend together into an arch above the top of the stairs. Eventually, I will do a path along the inside of the fence at the bottom of the hill, and heading west, where it will travel beneath the sideways pine tree and back up to a succulent mother garden around the crumbling pig pen. I’m thinking of bringing in DG rock to “pave” the white garden and the proposed path. Nothing else grows there except the Brazilian pepper that won’t die.
So ripe with potential, so many areas to tame and reclaim, I feel refreshed after a long day in the warming afternoons, when I hose things down. My wildflowers are tiny but look like they’ll survive. Safely inside the chicken-wire fence, my parking-space-sized vegetable garden are sunflowers and tomatoes and the remaining basil, hiding nervously between two artichokes. I’ve got a few beans and a sorry specimen of a white eggplant. I must be destined never to grow the elusive white eggplant. Probably prefer the lovely long purple Japanese variety, especially when they’re young and tender.
Would my garden only love me more if I didn’t keep putting kitschy stuff like the pot man all over the place? The pot man, relaxing with his feet up on the far side of the pond, contemplates an answer, but remains silent and inscrutable.
I imagine that the newly trimmed mums, munching out happily on their recent fertilizer feeding, are planning to give me spring blooms. Rarely, they’ll do that, but I think it’s gotten too warm too fast to trick them into blooming twice this year. After waiting patiently without flowering last year, my purple Iris are going to give me at least one stalk of multiple flowers. Apparently, they just needed to take a year off after being dug up and separated from their sibling bulbs. Exercise of tired old muscles in cool Spring afternoons is good. Exercise of imagination is better.