My birthday has come & gone, and my presents are still arriving. We’ve planted the 19 lavender plants, the 2 roses (gorgeous cherry red singles). A border of nectar plants: milkweed, agastache, coreopsis. A hummingbird bush (clethra alnifolia). Green giants (7 to be precise). And four trees! Sweet bay magnolia and Japanese maples, 2 of each! Houston, we (almost!) have a garden.

And that’s a way to live forever.

Seriously: gardens — especially those that provide habitat & food for birds, bees, butterflies, et al — are long-term investments. Ironically, they also pay off in the immediate present. Sons come for lunch, to help you pick up the trees in their truck. They come back on the weekend to help plant. My beloved has shown enormous patience as I say What about this? Do you like this rose or that one? Not to mention just drooling over the local nursery and various websites, or the (numerous!) trips to our favorite nursery.

Gardening — like writing — seems to me such a Buddhist endeavour. It requires you to be both optimistic and objective, such a difficult juggling act. On the one hand? I need to assess my soil, my sun & shade ratios, the new zone we live in. Those are all objectively verifiable, and need to be considered accurately. On the other? I’m dreaming of 30-foot trees from 6-foot saplings, of 4×4 roses from small 4″x4″ pots. And imagining, this chilly rainy day, the hum of native bees — hopefully a fat bombus terrestris, the aerodynamically improbable bumble bee. How Buddhist is that?

I just wish I was half as good a Buddhist as I am a gardener! I fully expect 90% of our new trees, perennials, & herbs to survive. My good intentions? Hmmm… That’s a lot more difficult!