Friday, June 06, 2014

Joy in Joy

Yesterday I was able to work for a wonderful kind lady in her upper 70's, frail due to a long recovery from a broken leg which followed a surgery. Her yard/garden is beautiful but obviously has not received attention the last 2-3 years. Rather than give up in despair this lady has decided to do what she enjoys, which is garden, and she does quite a lot herself, despite bad arthritis in her hand, shingles, and need of a cane.

But she needs help. The yard is indeed too much for her as it is.

Her joy in seeing the garden "come back" is palpable. My job is to do all the needed pruning of overgrown plants and then also to go into her deep very sunny back beds (It was hot as hell yesterday) and get rid of the 6-7 species of vines, all the volunteer trees, and generally make safe spaces for her to start over planting what she loves. Yes, start over. She plans to get stronger and to do more than she does now.

We share a common love for four o'clocks. Anyone who loves four o'clocks is a friend of mine.

People say to me that is good that I get to do what I love. I do like plants and I like working outside. But what I really love is making a difference in the lives of my clients, more and more of whom I now consider to be my friends. And if the client is in his or her late years, the possibility of them having peace and joy in their favorite space surrounded by a history of living and planting is deeply rewarding to me.

I'm really not in the gardening business so much as the joy business...


Roch said...

Hi Joel,

After steadily encroaching shade from an over-hanging nut tree of some kind (it remains a mystery to me), our bed of Cannas failed to bloom this year. Convinced they no longer get enough sun, I set about digging them up to transplant into a new and very sunny area in the front yard.

Since the Canna have always come back year after year (great foliage, even when they don't bloom), I assumed I could just go ahead an transplant the bulbs and rhizomes now, but several web pages advise storing them in a box and only planting after the threat of frost has passed.

What do you think? Is it okay to go ahead and plant them now in Greensboro?

Also, I agree with you about the four O'clocks. They are hardy, prolific and beautiful.

I hope you are well.

-- Roch

Joel Gillespie said...

Roch, great to hear from you. Canna lilies over winter in the ground here in Columbia, and I see no reason to store them until spring. I wonder if the things you've read are for more northern climes. If you split and replan tthem now I think they have time to establish before a freeze hard enough to freeze that deep - I mean, that is a rare freeze anyway. Joel

Roch said...

Thanks, Joel. Between your experience and judgement and my observation that they came back each year without replanting, I'm going to go ahead and replant them now. They'll have a layer of mulch on top too for a little added protection.

I dug up an area of about 2 1/2 x 5 feet and I must have well over 100 rhizomes/bulbs -- should make for quite a nice display next year, when they finally get some sun.

Take care.