When I Stopped Tending His Garden

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.


2 thoughts on “When I Stopped Tending His Garden

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