I am helping a friend’s parents with their garden this summer. The large heritage property, built circa 1865, is framed with many flower beds. Two of my favorite things – plants and an old building!
There are three of us helping the owners to maintain the grounds. My responsibility is the large crescent shaped bed, split into five ‘pies’ at the front of the house. I am not there very often – only one morning a week – but it sure feels good when I am. Spending time outside, doing physical work and being able to see the progress I make in a day hits the spot. Add to the fact that I am spending time on a heritage property is the icing on the cake.
Off the Beaten Track
The old house sits above the canal that runs though our city. The street is off the beaten track, used mostly by cyclists and foot traffic. Crouched among the plants, I am virtually invisible from the people passing by. I love listening to their comments as they notice the property.
The little voice that chimed out to his mother, “can we cross the street so I can pick some flowers for you?” Or the woman walking with a friend. “Then we stepped into the room and -oh my goodness! It’s so beautiful!”
This week, a man called out, “that’s a beautiful garden you have! You must work hard!” I always want to explain that the garden doesn’t belong to me, but after admiring it from afar years before I met the family, I feel like a part of it has my heart. I’m not ‘just’ the gardener. “A lot of us do”, I answered. The gentleman explained that his wife was in England on a garden tour and that he was “home taking care of the cats!” I wasn’t sure if he felt jilted or relieved. I couldn’t help but smile at him.
Such a Treat
My favourite comment so far came a few weeks ago. I heard a “hello!” as a man strolled down the street. “It’s a beautiful garden”, he said. “It’s such a treat to walk by!” He had such a pleasant air about him. White hair, cheerful eyes, a friendly smile. It’s a treat to work here too, I thought to myself. I felt happy that our work makes a difference to others in the community.
We are so heads down, focused on the weeds – on what we don’t want in the garden. I realized this week that the passersby don’t see the weeds – they see the beauty of the whole. It reminded me to focus on the big picture more often and get my head out of the little details I tend to fret about. Another lesson from the garden…