The sainted shrub did not resurrect itself this Spring. As I suspected, I had killed my birthday present to myself. The forever lusted after beautyberry bush, with its sumptuous purple berries clustered up and down its languorous limbs, was decidedly dead and was probably doomed to be yard waste from the moment I laid eyes on it last September at the Adkin’s Arboretum’s native plant sale.
I blamed it on last October not being as rainy as I needed it to be. The truth was that I didn’t remember to water my special shrub enough. It died of thirst right there is its driveway grave, expensive and neglected. I really hadn’t wanted the bush to die, I was just busy keeping a toddler alive and in check inside. So last week, I ceremoniously yanked the beautyberry’s carcass from that specially dug hole and surreptitiously tossed it over the side of our yard. I was pulling the band-aid off quickly to avoid the constant pain of staring at its dead shell in my driveway anymore.
I have a self-proclaimed brown thumb. Not as if the pre-Spring weather last year didn’t make it that much worse when a final frost killed this giant Lady Rose shrub above and my rosemary bush plus took the fig and hydrangeas down to the ground. Yes, I had help putting my garden into their present shambles. But somewhere along the way, I lost heart too.
Before the children became my omnipresent purpose, I spent hours and hours outside playing in the dirt of my house’s 9 flower beds. I have horrible luck with plants but what did survive managed to make me feel kinda good. Now I go out and all I feel is overwhelmed and like a failure. Worse, I do things like leave perfectly good planters and pots out in the weather to freeze and crack. Nothing can escape my doomed touch. Neglect and decay and ruin seem to be my decorating theme outside.
Thankfully, my husband Mark has gotten the planting bug and I watched him practice his own garden therapy last year when he lost his father to congestive heart failure. Gardening was really so very good for his soul as was the ritual distribution of his bounty. I hope to be back to gardening again some day. But until that day, I’ll try not to think about my garden.
Of course, this is also me hoping that those of you out there who love digging in dirt and like me, can find pity enough in your hearts to help me out of my dark doomed garden place. Anyone? Perhaps your name starts with M?