Terra Firma

Terra Firma

November 23 2021

I found solid ground in my garden. Both metaphorically and literally. All the idioms apply: I am grounded, my feet are on the ground and hopefully, even down to earth. It makes perfect sense that these sayings are, well, tied to the ground we all walk on, but metaphors aside, I highly recommend going barefoot when you can and lying down on that pretty green grass for some serious cloud watching and /or star gazing. Actually touching the ground-lawns are good for that.

All of my gardens have been in fertile creek or river bottom soils, mostly with (oh blessed me) mountains on the horizon. No doubt this, my fifth garden bears some resemblance in design to the ones that came before. I am cultivating more than just a garden-I am cultivating a sense of place. A place that’s home-a place where I belong. If I am repeating myself here, it’s because it’s difficult to find adequate words for this most important gift of my gardens.

It’s also true that I will repeat many of the same plants from garden to garden, because they’re my favorites, yes, but they also offer a sense of continuity, especially those I actually dig up and bring with me (trust me, I’ve left ten times more behind).One plant that is now on it’s fourth home is a ‘William Baffin’ rose, one of the own root Canadian Explorer series. When it first reached over six feet of long arching canes covered with pink roses, I couldn’t believe you could actually grow such a big rose bush in our cold climate. I prune out old leggy canes and an occasional winter damaged one, but it just gets bigger and better every year.

‘William Baffin’ has semi-double flowers in clusters of a dozen or more. The only problem with this rose is that dead heading is endless. For this reason I just wait for the entire cluster to be done blooming and then cut them off. This rose is now arching through a six foot fence-I hope the joggers and bicyclists that go by enjoy it.

Putting down roots is a very literal act for me. For whatever time I have, the trees and the flowers tie me to this spot of earth and maybe, just maybe, they tie me to the grand circle of life.

‘William Baffin’ Hybrid Kordesii rose, zone 3