Tree Tulips

Sometimes the most beautiful things in our gardens are things we didn’t plant, and almost don’t notice…

Most gardeners include places to sit in their gardens. I guess we like to imagine ourselves having a siesta, soaking up all the beauty that surrounds us.

Chairs in the garden are inviting, and conjure idyllic images of a quiet afternoon chatting with a dear friend over tea, or savoring the sweetness of our husband’s company with a glass of wine at day’s end.

I hold on to this hallowed image for a second, before I’m drawn back into the realities of maintaining this oasis. Meandering with clippers and bucket, my mind is busy with tasks evident at every turn this time of year.

Do gardeners truly nap in their hammocks, or read poetry in a chair nestled close to the roses?

No, for several reasons. Mainly, we’re too busy to sit down and admire the garden, because our work isn’t done until the snow falls. If I sat down and glanced at my handiwork, I’d be up in a flash because a weed is peeking out from under the lupine, or dastardly aphids are sucking the life out of my rosebuds.

But more frightening, there are scary things living under those pretty seats. Spiders, mice, wasps….dreadful things thrive in solitude under those dark, dank structures.

My brother Peter doesn’t fret about such things.

A few years ago, our home was on a garden tour. It was a lot of work to prepare for hundreds of people strolling through. To avoid disappointing anyone and overhearing disparaging remarks, I worked hard to make every detail appealing.

By the time the day was done, I collapsed into our hammock, and saw the garden from a whole new perspective. How pretty is the tree canopy in the late afternoon with a gentle breeze ruffling the freshly unfurled leaves? What is that way way up at the top of that majestic tree?
There must be hundreds of them!
I ran to the house for Jim’s birding binoculars, quickly returning to my supine position on the hammock.

My, my! What a glorious sight! The tree was loaded with flowers that only the birds could see. I should have offered the garden visitors a turn in the hammock to admire the garden in the tree high over their heads. The garden I’d never planted.

The real wow that day was the tulip tree in bloom. The flowers were extraordinary.

What a fascinating, mysterious world we live in.

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