His garden had requirements:
grit, persistence, strength, determination.
I’ve forgotten how many loads
of soil (or gravel, or rock) I moved
in the contractor’s wheelbarrow I bought
for him at a garage sale almost
25 years ago; he loved it.
And I figured on forgetting
the Latin names of his beloved
native plants–the low water ones–
the ones I never quite got right:
Euphorbia. Coreopsis. Hypericum.
But I planted and watered and trimmed
to his specifications each year.
Now the names come to me
unbidden but welcome. Small
surprises I didn’t know I still knew:
Salvia. Frittelaria. Nandina.
I walk and admire others’ gardens
as I pass, without tending.
I inhale their fragrance, and walk on.
Now my own garden blooms–
wild with whatever will grow
in this fertile soil of joy.
Friends also tend when I ask
for help and I revel in the
absence of strict requirements
and (especially) a wheelbarrow.