“Your garden is beautiful!” I never really get bored hearing that. When a total stranger stops to comment on our blossoms and greenery, it’s a pleasure. In fact, when I did 50 good deeds in 50 days, one of my good deeds was just that simple: complimenting someone’s garden. (As an aside, quite a lot of those 50 good deeds were simple – that was the beauty of the exercise.)
I was weeding and planting in the front garden on Saturday. A woman, about 60, tossed me these kind words as she walked by. In fact, throughout our brief conversation she never actually stopped her steady march along the sidewalk. Maybe because I was rather muddy and sweaty and she thought it safest to keep on truckin’.
But I liked her cheerful air. She told me she enjoys many of the gardens in the neighbourhood. “People work so hard in them,” she said. Man, it’s nice to be appreciated, isn’t it?
“There are some wild ones, there are some prim and proper ones,” she added. “You can almost tell the people in the houses by their gardens!” I wonder, is that related to the way owners and dogs resemble each other?
A garden is both personal and public. When you build a garden, it’s like interior-decorating the exterior. The whole world gets a peek at your individual tastes, your penchant for colour, your style savvy or lack thereof. Maybe when weeds overtake your garden it’s the equivalent of letting the dust bunnies pile up. Maybe an out-of-control virginia creeper vine is like a retro shag rug you just can’t let go. If my garden reflects back on me, I guess I’d have to say I’m well organized yet a bit scattered, I’m colourful and I enjoy cocktails. (And yes, I know that last part makes no sense. That doesn’t make it any less true.)
The other thing about a garden is that, with any luck, it brings joy to you and it spreads joy in your community. Perhaps, in a self-serving kind of way, a garden is a sort of good deed, too. Then again, aren’t most good deeds rewarding to the deed doer?
I’ve just confused myself. All that really matters is that my flowers made at least two of us smile on Saturday.