The garden was as ready as it could be. Weeding, deadheading, primping, pruning, tidying and prettying were done. Despite the preceding days bringing rains of diluvian proportions accompanied with mighty winds, it looked beautiful. Thus, on Friday night I went to bed hoping for the best.
May 25th, my garden’s Open Day dawned and it was not pretty. Thickly overcast skies, a steady rain, strong wind and, near freezing temperatures were enough to send me back to bed. But, get ready I did. Signs directing visitors to the garden were duly posted. Although a last minute sweep of freshly scattered maple seeds was not possible due to the ground being wet, the rain almost eased up. We set up the welcome table and waited.
Who on earth was going to brave this ugly weather? I thought as I hung around shivering in my sweater and rain coat. It seemed like a perfect day to get a fire going and curl up with a good book and hot cup of tea. Any sane mind would do just that. The clock struck 10:00 am and we were officially open. Ready and waiting to see my little slice of paradise was a couple who had driven all the way from Rochester, NY! I believe I took them by surprise by bestowing upon them giant, grateful hugs. Barely had they got started on their visit, when I found myself welcoming a couple from California – they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary by motoring around the country with a goal to visiting specific gardens on their list. I was deeply honored that my garden was on that list. Having just these four people with their weather-be-damned attitude, I felt my open day was already a success.
But, it didn’t stop there. More die-hard, brave souls arrived. Interest and enthusiasm abounded. What gardener can get enough of conversations and praise from fellow gardeners? My cup ranneth over. Observant, curious, open minded eyes took in everything I’d hoped they would. Not one complaint about the weather was heard. I made new friends, greeted familiar faces and generally felt as though a party was underway. We exchanged ideas and laughs, I answered questions, discussed projects – some even unrelated to gardening and in the end, I was left with a profound sense of appreciation for this day. I couldn’t possibly have asked for better.
So perhaps the number of visitors was half of what I’ve come to expect on Open Day. But that did not diminish the day in any way. The lessons I learned was that gardeners and garden lovers are undaunted by a bit of bad weather. Nobody visits a garden to be critical or pass judgment – they truly come to be inspired and delighted. Details, both small and large are observed and appreciated. What work I put into my garden is never a waste. Giving my best effort at all times matters and people recognize such things. I was reminded to have faith in humanity. In the final analysis, Nature is the only one in charge and we musts learn to accept and value our own humble roles.
In my present state of gratitude and grace, I’m left with one question – where were you last Saturday and why did you not visit me? Well?
(c) 2013 Shobha Vanchiswar