Typically, when I write about a season, it usually revolves around a flower or fruit–peony season, iris season, tomato season–but lately my seasons have been around my kids. I’ve entered trampoline season. Unlike a flower or fruit season, these kid seasons tend to be long. So, because of that, I try to tough it out knowing they are having the time of their lives, and my time with them is so short. When we moved to our home in October, 1997, I knew wanted to build a garden. At the time, I had one child, one-year-old. She is now almost 18. YIKES! Between building beds, working a couple of jobs. (I was never one for just doing one thing at a time) and traveling, I began to build a garden I now call Helen’s Haven.
When I began, I had this idea that I wanted to create an “important” garden for the wildlife. By that I meant, one that fully sustained the pollinators and the other critters I wanted to attract. After 17 years building the garden, I’m not sure how “important” it really is, and looking back, I may have been a tad bit naive in my thinking that I even needed to do that. Yet, it seemed like a nice thought. And by important, I also meant, I would build a garden someone would want to visit, photograph, write about, and learn from. Yes, I wanted my garden to one day become a teaching garden to learn about sustainable garden practices that was waterwise and attracted wildlife. A garden that is organic and produces food and teas. If I collected specimen trees and garden art as well, that would just be a bonus. Even though I knew what to expect in building a garden, I didn’t know what to expect in building a family. When a child is one, you can’t really predict their needs and not all kids will want the same thing.
My husband and I added a play set that was the center of my kids’ world for about 10 years. I garden around it. It was tucked on the side of the garden and well, frankly, it was expected of someone when you have (now) three young kids. I didn’t have to explain myself. I loved having it and loved even more how much they played on it. Then one day they skipped their evening play, then another. After a while, it was hit or miss. When it came time to say good-bye, we took it down to build the Love Shack. We saved a part of it to be a fort, but they haven’t really had any interest in that. My kids turned their target to a trampoline. We talked about it for a couple of years, and finally it was what Lily wanted for her 14th-birthday present. How bad could it be?
That was April 10, 2014. I’m writing this on July 30, 2014 and I’m counting the consecutive days it is not in use. It has been used fewer days than the number of times the kids said they would take care of a puppy if we got one. We did. Her name is Pepper.
Now, I’m looking ahead and wondering what grass to choose to replace my existing dead grass. I’m learning how to photograph my garden so it doesn’t look like I have an alien ship that landed in the back. And, I’m getting grief from all my medical professional friends. Actually, they aren’t really giving me grief. Instead, they are looking at the new car models. The Philbrooks may be their next meal ticket
Tours are on hold, visits are limited, but if you close your eyes just right, the netting around this 15-foot diameter giant circle of bouncing fun, looks kinda like a mist or fog, giving the garden an interesting effect. I love my kids, yes I do. But when it is time to say good-bye to this monster of a bone breaker, I will not shed a tear. I will be jumping for joy on the firm ground I call Helen’s Haven.