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The Importance of Dreams

Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 4 January 2002

A garden starts with dreams. What kinds of landscape, of garden design, have moved you? A sheltered gazebo covered with sweet-smelling roses, inviting you to pause ... a rustic, winding path that leads you deep into childlike curiosity ... a straight walk, wide and stately, bordered on both sides with flowering hedges, giving a feeling of celebration — pomp even — to the process of traveling down it .... Places that welcome, that lift your spirits. In cold midwinter, it's time to dream.

It's important to dream big, dream dramatic — dream gorgeous. Dreaming is not planning. When you get down to planning a project, you get practical. Before that, find what's deep in your heart, what feels special.

I'm dreaming of a water garden. Not just a birdbath or a fountain, but a stream with watercress trailing in it, and lush ferns beside it, and the Massachusetts state flower, the Trailing arbutus, covering the bank above it — oh! the tiny, pale pink blooms of this rare plant have the sweetest, most delicate scent... if you know when to look under the fuzzy, low-growing leaves for them (in April or May; it's also called Mayflower). There'd be some tall Cimicifugas, with their big, showy leaves and long, slender, fluffy bottle-brush flowers ... and the constant friendly murmur of water rippling over rocks.

I'm dreaming of getting our whole yard landscaped. That means cleaning up a spot beside our garage where at some time coal was dumped, perhaps to kill plants in a driveway there. But if so, the driveway has moved; now this spot is just a place where nothing grows but some maples and weeds. I've dug up some of the coal (and coal dust), but there's much more. If I could remove enough of that poison, and get some decent topsoil in there, I could plant an aggressive ground cover like ivy or periwinkle, which wouldn't need any maintenance and would keep weeds down. It's the only ugly spot left in the yard: I long to tame it.

And I'm dreaming of a path from the main garden in my back yard, to a back door. This gets into house dreaming too, since we don't have a back door yet. (Who ever heard of a house without a back door?) I look out the window that may become the door, and visualize various paths. My favorite so far traces an S-curve, wandering through new beds for the herbs I use in cooking.

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© Copyright 2002 Catherine Holmes Clark