When I look back to the beginning of my garden journal, I am surprised to see that I have been gardening here at Scout’s Run for 20 years. Like the perennials that endure from year to year, I have continued to keep a seasonal record of my gardening life. I enjoy the process of being a lifelong learner. In the changing world of nature, one never reaches a point where there is nothing left to learn. Therefore, despite the years, I am quite content thinking of myself as a perennial novice.
In the last 20 years, my diary has taken many forms, from lists of daily chores and tasks, to a running commentary on our ever-changing weather. I have tracked fertilization schedules and the first and last mowing and snow dates of each year. The heart of my garden diary revolves around personal experiences: the hopes, dreams and understanding that have come to me through gardening itself.
In March of 2000, I find this entry,
written sideways on a page full of weather notes: “Today I began writing the weekly garden column for The Columbian, Vancouver, Washington’s largest daily newspaper. My first column, Welcome to the Garden Life, was published on March 23, 2000.” That was twelve years ago. By my count, today’s column is number 630 and that includes 630 garden photographs, most from my own garden.
Gardening is about looking forward to the results of working in the garden. One day, you look through a garden magazine and sigh at the impossibility of creating anything as wonderful as an old English Manor house surrounded by vast gardens. Then, spring arrives in your own garden, and the small grouping of primrose you planted last fall blooms in lovely shades of pastel pink and lavender, with contrasting yellow eyes. At that moment, small becomes quite grand and you see all the possibilities before you.
I began to keep track of my experiences in a garden diary as gardening grew in importance to me. Many simple events in the garden lifted my spirits. At the very least, they deserved further reflection. It was not long before the events of my garden life outgrew the spaces in my garden journal, and the details began to overflow the small boxes of my garden calendar. I wrote of a memory brought back by the scent of honeysuckle in summer and a pond that Jim and I built thirteen years ago, now aging with ferns and moss.