The Wildflower Child In Me

            A Lesson In Native Gardening: The Wildflower Child In Me

This spring I was dragging my feet having to leave tropical South Beach so early to take care of some damage from pipes that broke during the extremely cold winter in New Jersey. I have not come back to Four Views this early in quite a few years and quite honestly dreaded what I was facing.

But I’m realizing that sometimes forced change and challenges can be good. It’s really been delightful to see the dogwood, mountain laurel, azaleas and some of the other early spring flowers in bloom again. I took a break today from all the inside work I’ve been having to do and walked around the grounds with almost new eyes of appreciation, as though seeing how lovely nature can be if allowed to landscape on its own for the first time.  
Considering the topography of my sloping land on the cliff side I’ve always preferred natural landscaping, or native gardening with winding beach stone pathways and ivy draped slopes. Mountain laurel and dogwood are indigenous to our area and grow wild through the other trees, reproducing and popping up where they feel best at home. I love that. I remember as a child in Ohio my favorite wildflower was Queen Anne’s lace growing in random patterns along the roadside and in the fields.  
Unfortunately Queen Anne doesn’t live her, but I saw the scattered wild raspberry bushes planted by the birds starting to sprout their canes. Their existence in my landscape certainly was not my doing, but I am grateful every summer as I carry basketfuls into the house. And the way the wild roses somehow found a home in my natural garden and reproduce themselves over and over again without any help from me at all. The dogwood, laurel, wild raspberry, wild roses, oaks, buttonwood and birch – everything within my native landscape began life on its own.
 As I continued my walk along the path drinking in the surroundings around me I began thinking about life and how if sometimes we could just let go and let life unfold without trying to push our way through things it might be easier and turn out better for us. Just as in my garden. Have faith that opportunities will naturally open up around us that will be good for us and if we are smart enough to nurture those opportunities wonderful things will grow from them.  
Nature has patience. It takes a long time for a seed to germinate. Sometimes I think life would go smoother for us if we could just learn to let go and let life happen. So many times in my life I have tried to force a door open that I was not supposed to enter leading me down the path I would rather have not walked. I eventually got smarter and learned to have patience, be quiet and listen. That’s when a seed of inspiration was planted, the right door opened and moved me toward positive growth and happiness. 
My dogwoods, mountain laurels and tall trees have weathered through stress – at least six hurricanes in my lifetime with them. They are still standing. Every one of them. Mother Nature has endowed them with strength and patience and genetic intelligence to bend with the wind and whatever else She throws at them. If we could only get that down, life would be so much easier, don’t you think?
©Copyright Sandra Hart. All rights reserved.