And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”
—In the Garden, by C. Austin Miles (from The Broadman Hymnal)
Gardening is Alone Time. Especially in the early morning hours as the sun rises in the east and the grass is still wet with dew. You take off your shoes and just let your feet get wet (and muddy).
Cup of coffee in one hand. The hoe in the other.
This is my favorite time of day to be in the garden. Silence truly is golden.
And yet, sometimes when you’ve just pulled up some Johnson Grass and stopped to admire the Zinnias now starting to bloom in earnest, you are reminded of friends and family no longer with you, and you feel you are not alone, both in the garden and in Life.
You carry them with you. These Zinnias that are blooming and ready to be cut and shared are a reminder of the person for whom I grow them: My Mom. She loved them. We always had a vase-full on the kitchen table. Like fresh green beans, hot weather and rainstorms, they are fixtures of summertime.
My late sister Julia loved Zinnias, as well, and probably for the same exact reason that I do: They reminded her of our mother. Julia was also a child of Summer. This was her season. She married and moved away from Hodgenville and became a Master Hosta-Grower, but one of her favorite things to do was to return home for the summer, drink iced tea on the back porch, and eat pimento cheese on pumpernickel bread.
These are two of the people I carry with me to the garden, and even though I don’t feel them with me every day, I feel them in certain moments and am reminded to slow down, to reflect, and to enjoy the pleasure of a morning well-spent…in the garden.
More later from Groundhog Hill.
This column, these zinnias, are dedicated to my mother, Frances Bond Enlow La Rue (1921-1984) and to my sister, Julia Brooks La Rue Orwig (1951-2009), and to my cousin, Robert Lewis Enlow, Sr., a master gardener.