OK, let’s try that again

Janice Wells
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Talk about the best laid plans! I am a planner. I absolutely love planning. For me, planning a vacation is almost as much fun as going on it (more, on at least one unfortunate occasion).

Newman is not a planner. You could in fact say he is a non-planner, an anti-planner, and the further away the event, the less sense he sees in planning. His standard responses when I start taking out the calendar and making notes and lists are along the lines of, “You don’t know what’s going to happen between now and then,” and “We’ve got lots of time to think about that.”

My standard response to that is, “Just because we make a plan doesn’t mean we have to stick to it. I like planning.”

This year has proven once and for all that my way is a good way.

All winter I dreamed and planned. Neither Newman nor I were in the pink of health, but I had a nice German man a few streets over all lined up to do some gardening for me here in town and I whiled away many a happy hour in the depths of winter planning my new garden in Heart’s Content.

I pored over magazines and books; I made drawings of the land and wrote tiny lists next to where I thought such and such would work well. Then I made a list of the early spring chores that sometimes don’t get done as early as they should in the spring, like feeding and pruning and guiding climbers.

This year, I was confident they’d get done because of my new gardener, and I also made a list of all the things I was going to get him to divide and/or pot up to be transplanted to Heart’s Content. First, of course, I had to walk through the garden with him, pointing out things, explaining what my plans were, and I eagerly looked forward to the first warm spring day that we could do this.

Well, we did have a couple of decent days this spring but I had other commitments on those days. And before I had a chance to even meet with this new man in my garden, more flippin’ flamin’ health complications suddenly put all plans on hold.

A lot of my plans are just not going to happen this year. Even organizing materials and directing someone else takes a bit of clear thinking and energy. Some things would have been done by now, but for the most part, I am now adjusting my plans to include an August planting of perennial seeds and perhaps I’ll find some perennial and shrub bargains then, too.

The thing is, even a major setback doesn’t in any way diminish all the pleasure I had dreaming and planning last winter. And there’s always a silver lining; Daughter No. 1 is spending the summer helping me recover, and, in my life, that includes gardening. Daughter No. 2 is here almost every day, and on nice days Grammy’s baby boy is as happy as can be in his playpen in the backyard.

I lie in my lounger and coo at him and look around at the honeysuckle that isn’t pruned yet, and Climbing New Dawn that has been pruned to within an inch of its life, and Blue Dancer clematis who was in full glory when Daughter No. 1’s enthusiastic weeding severed it completely from its roots.   

I see the buttercups thriving in the bed under the kitchen window where they’ve never been allowed before, and the deadheads of the tulips not clipped off, and I’m not bothered a bit. Even the dastardly Norway little maple seedlings that haven’t been uprooted yet don’t bother me.

Instead I am enjoying all the good things in my garden and my life, and this weekend I intend to enjoy some other people’s gardens in the second annual Mystery Garden Tour. It’s Saturday and Sunday, and if you don’t have a ticket, check with your nearest garden centre or the Botanical Garden. Thank you for all the good wishes, and maybe I’ll see you there.


Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. Her latest book, “Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts,” was published in October 2010 by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. You can reach her at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca. Note to readers: please do not send thumbnail-size photographs, as they are too small to publish.

Organizations: Botanical Garden, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing

Geographic location: Norway

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