Pandemic Gardening Thoughts submitted By Ginny von Rueden
Walking and gardening are two of the activities I have enjoyed the most during the last several months of the COVID pandemic. More than giving me enjoyment, they gave me reprieve from the worries and solace from the disruptions of my regular routines. A love of gardening was a gift from my mother and one I have tried to nurture in my children. My lilacs and raspberries grow from shoots she gave me that have moved with me from house to house over many years. Thanks to her, the joy of working with nature sustains me and gives me hope.
During these difficult times, I am happy and grateful to be able to spend hours toiling in the soil as my garden flourishes from season to season. The scourge of the restrictions and cancellations imposed by the disease denies me from having something to which I can look forward. But my garden never fails me and faithfully gives me something to anticipate with each passing day. And, when tragedy strikes as it did with the falling of our large and ancient willow tree, there are always opportunities for renewal with different plantings and design decisions. Sharing my garden is my way to connect with others when I take bouquets of flowers as gifts for both happy and sad occasions. Tea and conversation (or wine and conversation! ) among the blooms lifts my spirits endlessly.
Attracting wildlife is always a goal of any garden designer and I’m so happy that the birds, bees and butterflies are regular visitors in my garden. When I see the bluejays splashing in the fountain, the robins clustering to eat the red berries on the hawthorne tree, the bees buzzing around the sedum, the butterflies hovering on the dahlias, I feel a kinship with them and know I’m helping our planet by providing a safe haven and sustenance for them.
Strolling around town provides more than exercise, it can be a euphoric experience with all the beauty that surrounds me. Every time I gaze across Marblehead Harbor, I exclaim, “how lucky am I to live here!”. I am always amazed by the variety of splendid gardens in every nook and cranny of our glorious town and their displays are food for the soul. My phone camera clicks constantly as I wander the streets and alleyways to capture the visual delights all around me. I can almost forget the isolation and suffering we have all experienced as we miss or mourn our loved ones.
I am truly grateful for the beauty of my surroundings which will continue to inspire me when life gets back to “normal”. And I’m ever thankful to call myself a “gardener”.
By Ginny von Rueden