took the time to set the plants in motion. Orange daylilies in the spring. The black-eyed Susans in summer. Purple aster and rosy pink sedum in fall. It took me several years to figure the patterns out, the first year spent surveying the mess, the plants toppling over each other, the choking weeds, and everywhere, shoots of #%$^% bamboo.
That was the first thing to go. That, and the prison door.
Some days I seriously thought about tearing everything out, scouring it down to the hard, packed dirt. But then I would've missed the design hiding under all of that mess. How each season's flowers give way to the next. There's a metaphor hiding here too and if I thought I could explain it to you, I would, but for now, let's pretend I'm talking about my backyard,
and how I learned what needed to be shed and what might be lovely to keep.
1. It helps to know what you are dealing with. IE, what these plants are. This seems like a no brainer, but I can't tell you how long I spent trying to identify this stuff. You can google, and there are plant identifying apps and books, of course, but I found it most helpful to ask a more knowledgeable gardening friend. Think: therapist, but with flowers.
2. Don't do anything you may regret (except for what you are absolutely sure about--the prison door; the noxious bamboo). It really is okay to take your time while you get your bearings.
3. But at some point, you will be ready to act, and when you are, do it. Dig out a plant and plop it somewhere else. Rip something else out all together and toss it in the compost.
4. Or don't. Not everything is worth saving.
5. This is your garden now, after all. Acknowledge what was gifted to you and then draw up your own design. Plant your seeds. Find joy in what grows.
6. As for the rest—take a breath. It’s okay. I promise—let it go.