The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- June 2000

5 June - morning

Well, we have finally moved in. In a few minutes I will be heading out to our new backyard to clear some bamboo and pile up the old rotting firewood that is in the back corner of our lot. An arborist is bringing a crew over tomorrow to help us prune the large trees and remove some of the many weedy small trees that are growing along our fence line. This work will begin the transformation of this yard into a garden. Soon, I will no longer feel like a stranger when I walk out the back door.

12 June - afternoon

This past week has brought a profound change to our new yard. We have removed nearly thirty large and small trees, and all of the bamboo within the property line. The back yard has morphed from a mosquito infested jungle into a broad clearing, yet it still has seven large trees. As I write this, the remaining trees are filled with workers pruning out the dead wood and crossing branches. I wanted sun for the new garden, and now I have it. And space too! It is amazing now to stand at the corner of the property and look back at the house, there is so much room.

It will be hard to restrain my itchy green thumb over the coming months- I feel like jumping in and planting new trees and shrubs right away. Be that as it may, I've promised myself that I will wait till fall. I want to plan the garden before I plant anything major. I have already spent sleepless hours lying in bed dreaming about how I will organize the space. My first impulse is to use a classical scheme that includes several allees of smaller trees and a great circle of bald cypress, one of my all time favorite plants. It will fun to dream through the hot summer months, and then, in October, the true joy of creating the garden will begin in earnest.

22 June - evening

I just came back in from a walk around the yard... fireflies were drifting over the bamboo stumps and cracked clay of the newly exposed earth. I have cleared the slate, my garden awaits me, hidden between the stark planes of the new fence. I feel as if I have taken a stick and drawn a circle in the sand, declaring my intentions before even knowing what they are.

In all of my years gardening at Forest Trail, my former residence, I never once saw a firefly. They are positively thick here, just a few miles away. When I was out walking I followed their neon like trails as they wandered through the darkness. I feel comforted by their presense, they remind me of the summer evenings of my childhood in upstate New York. I am glad that all of the tree clearing of the past few weeks has not chased them away.

I feel as if I am waiting for a sign. What will the new garden be? Perhaps the firelflies were illuminating the paths I should follow.

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