My garden isn’t as far along I’d like it to be. Memorial Day is our traditional last frost date, and I usually try to get everything planted by then. Right now I have peppers and squash sitting in tiny pots waiting to get into the ground. I still need more peppers and some eggplant from the farmers market. And then there are seeds: corn, pumpkins, beans. I’m late on the broccoli and kale and chard.

But today, those starts and seeds waited. The peas and greens I have planted went unweeded. Instead, I spent my day here:


tending, a birthday tradition

I weeded and loosened soil. I tucked in some lily-of-the-valley and pulmonaria and a new lavender. I moved the mums that were lost under the lilies and found a spot for the rosemary.

I worked with my big girl chattering away beside me, taking my weeds away in her wheelbarrow, asking me again, “What’s that called?”

bleeding heart

“Bleeding heart.”

Usually I do this job alone, but I having her with me made me smile. She understood that I needed to work this space today, and I love that she wanted to help.

Working in Henry’s garden has become a tradition for his birthday. Nothing is reallangel in the gardeny right on this day, but working this space comes as close as anything I’ve tried. Some years, I revisit the story in my own head of his birth, of his life, of his death. More often though, my mind wanders as I work. What matters is the  act of being out here, clearing space, tending life.

I didn’t get everything done. I left plants that needed to be divided. I wanted to mulch with compost and put back all the heart shaped rocks I moved out. There are still, of course, more weeds. I didn’t have enough time in the garden today. We didn’t have nearly enough time.