Garden Spells

My daughter took this picture this morning.

Summer in New England is short and temperamental.  The warm weather comes and goes in a flash, the sun visits and then retreats. It’s fickle and gorgeous and a season to appreciate but not to count on.

Because we were away for two weeks, and then recovering for another week or so, I missed the narrow window of opportunity for planting out my garden.  It’s too late for my sweet pea and nasturtium seeds, although I did manage to throw some radish and lettuce seeds in the ground before we left.  And because we are getting the house painted this summer — and the vegetable garden is right next to it — and because we spend most of these warm months bopping about, making the most of the sunshine — I’ve decided not to do anything else.  This will be the first time since I’ve owned my own house that I won’t have at least a pot or two of tomatoes.

I’ll miss it, miss the intoxicating scent of home-grown basil, the fun of making my own salsa from scratch with ingredients I’ve not only chosen but grown.  But I’ve decided to focus on what I have this summer, on the unexpected delight and abundance that can occur when you cede control. We never pruned the roses this year, we’re letting the mint grow rampant (I know, I know — we won’t be able to find the house) and the wisteria and clematis received only the most cursory haircut.  The lavender is so full and lush it has fallen over, and I can’t decide whether to cut and dry it or simply enjoy it the way it looks today. It’s a jungle, but a beautiful one.

The lavender hedge smells amazing in the hot sun.

The wisteria and the mint may take over the house.

The clematis is taller than the shed.

Wherever and however you spend your summer, I hope it is a beautiful one, filled with unexpected pleasures and delights.

Liz Michalski


  1. Leslie Peterson on June 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Gardens mirror our lives, forever changing, bending and yeilding to the seasons of the times! At times our lives are in full bloom, exploding with vibrant colors and varities and at other times we are focused on just a few aspects, tenderly caring and nuturing but a small few…and sometimes, what we cultivate takes on a life of its own and we only have to sit back and enjoy all its glory! Your pictures are beautiful and if you do ever make that homespun salsa; count me in! Enjoy your summer!!!

    • liz on June 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Lovely, Leslie!

  2. Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) on June 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    What a beautiful deck!

    I love to garden, put in a ton of effort in our old home to have both beauty and produce. But this yard has never felt the same. It’s big and feels sterile. To make enough of a difference, I’d have to spend every waking moment outside, and that’s obviously not going to work with a family and writing. Priorities, right?

    • liz on June 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

      I know, Jan. I use to grow a ton of vegetables, fruits and flowers, and this year the garden feels like a mess because I just haven’t put the time in. But, I’m putting the time in on other things, like family and writing, so I guess that helps me feel better.

  3. Rick Wilcox on June 21, 2012 at 12:50 am

    The garden you are tending is the precious hearts of your children. The harvest will be bountiful.

  4. liz on June 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Rick, somedays it feels as if the bounty will be poison ivy, but I’m working that garden anyhow!!

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