Sunday, August 3, 2008

Backyard Treasures

We let our backyard grow wild this summer. I would like to say there was a master plan to it, like those plots around town with a "Native Plant Restoration" sign staked into the center so that the neighbors don't complain. The native plants reclaimed our yard because we had too much going on to stop them. At first, I was a bit ashamed at how chaotic it seemed back there (such blatant evidence that we don't quite have control of the everyday details of our lives), but the time I spent in local wild flower gardens lately has changed my vision completely. I am so grateful we did this. Not only are some of my favorite local flowers growing in our yard, but also a host of other amazingly beautiful and strange plants.

As I've been thinking about what I want to do with landscaping in future growing seasons when the duties of cultivating children are a bit less intense, I now realize the head start we already have by what is growing on our land. Physically, it's like the opposite of a blank canvas, but mentally, it has the same effect. Or maybe it is more like a piece of marble for the sculptor's chisel. What do I keep? What gets chipped away? The answers are not so simple because the wildness reveals to me things beyond the knowledge my mind possesses. The plants know things I do not about the history of this land, what grows here, what thrives. The best I can do is give them the space to teach me.
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