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Watching my Plants Grow

Weeding, I just found two brand-new seedling hostas. Only one leaf each, less than half an inch tall; in a rounder shape than the hosta volunteers I get on the other side of the yard. It will take several years for them to really show what their form will be, but that roundness has me excited.

Nearby, the hosta 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' has not sent up any shoots yet. Did it succumb to voles eating its roots this past winter? Or is it just late? I can never remember which are the late-appearing hostas; must remember to take notes. Flavocircinalis has blue leaves with a streaky yellow edge, and a puckered texture that fascinates me. It's a rare hosta, and grows slowly. The shape of the leaves is an oval with a pointed tip — a wide oval. Could those seedlings be progeny of this plant? I feel a grandmotherly kind of delight: awe at the miracle of their appearance; wonder that I may watch them fulfill their potential.

The seedlings are growing next to rocks in a path. They'll be little enough to leave there, this year and next; I'll transplant them after that. Mainly what I want growing between those rocks is Arabis sturii, with its mats of shiny green, inch-tall lance-shaped leaves — so thick it crowds out most weeds. Right now it also has three-inch-tall stems waving lacy white flowers. I planted the arabis four years ago, spaced two feet apart; they've grown slowly because the path is shady, but are beginning to spread, so that the look I was striving for is happening.

Last year I added some moss in between the arabis. To transplant moss, I've learned to give it exactly the same conditions I take it from. It likes fertilizer, and requires an acid soil. The moss and the Arabis make a nice contrast in textures. After I weeded them, I just stood and gazed at them, admiring the natural blending of one into and around the other — entranced at how they grow.

Even when I'm unable to work in the garden, I try to get out there just to see it, to drink it in. I'll walk around and greet the plants, or just sit in my comfortable chair and let my eyes wander.

The better attention I pay, the more I am rewarded when I watch that living, changing dance which is the garden, growing.

© Copyright 2003 Catherine Holmes Clark


Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 30 May 2003

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