Today as I weeded my garden, I had several delightful encounters with the residents of the garden: some interesting looking spiders, a couple small snakes, and this praying mantis. I felt a bit guilty, for after all the reason I was seeing them was that I was actively messing up their comfy homes, for they enjoy the weeds and overgrown places.
The garden is a compromise, really, between me and my silly “civilized” desires and the wild inclinations of “nature”. How far apart are those two concepts, in actuality? Probably not as far as we humans make out. But the garden, that is where the two meet (Michael Pollan’s book Second Nature explores this concept beautifully).
In the garden, I’m constantly tending to the edges of things. The edge where the lawn and the grass meet the flower bed must be clipped. The edge where the hedge meets the path must be cut back. The edge where my desires meet reality must be managed as well. For the garden really can’t be controlled, no matter how much some beautiful gardens give the impression of control. I’m thinking of bonsai and classic Japanese gardens …. so amazingly balanced and controlled.
My garden will never look like that. I’m much more of the haphazard gardener and (aspirational) I hope to have a country cottage sort of garden. This is a garden that really doesn’t pretend to any great amount of control, but also doesn’t want to be completely over run. If nature takes over too much, it’s not really a garden anymore at all, is it?
And so here I am, messing about at the edges, encountering the others who dwell there.