In these modern times most people have stopped connecting with nature. Often our lives become more ruled by TV schedules than seasons as we turn “yard work” over to men with powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers that create more noise than peace. Perhaps this is the year to reclaim the garden. Or at least a part of it.
My yard has a bit of a split personality. The front yard and garden are more public in the sense that anyone passing the house can see them. It’s a tiny front yard that the neighbor’s son keeps mowed so it appears neat enough to pass home owners inspections. The back yard is fenced, shaded and private. It is where I write and meditate and where I often let nature run a bit wild. There’s no grass left as the space, which isn’t overly large, has been turned over to a mix of garden, ground covering and seating spaces. This lack of grass also means I don’t need a lawn mower to keep up with it, though the ground covering does get trimmed with a string trimmer now and then depending on the seasons.
And in this back garden I really do keep track of the seasons since the house is actually situated to emphasis them. The sun moves along the length of the house and in the winter moves in the sky so that much of the garden is in shadow. So, when I start my spring plants, I have to put them in the back half of the garden for them to get sunlight. In the summer, the sun hits most of the garden and I retreat to the shade of the trees when I sit out. My back garden has become an intensely personal space where I can go to retreat from the world and refresh from the stress of the day.
It doesn’t take an entire yard to create a secret garden. You can claim an unused corner or that neglected side yard. Just add a comfortable seat and a few of your favorite plants. Screen it with an arbor or even a few plants in pots. Just choose a spot you can design to your tastes and not the for the neighbors. Then take a few minutes each day to sit in your spot and enjoy a cup of tea and perhaps a few minutes of meditation. Soon just walking into the space will have a calming effect.