The Ghost Garden

By Beck

The flowers are coming back – mostly crocuses right now, which I forget about every year until April and then they take the very breath from me with their beauty which looks so breakable and yet thrives through snow and neglect.

I do not garden.

Occasionally I will plant SOMETHING that I think is cute and then ignore it until it dies. And I sometimes remember to half-heartedly throw a few bulbs in the ground in the fall, but other than that, I never garden and yet I LOVE flowers and they grow all up around my yard from April until the killing colds of October with no help from me.

Someone used to garden here.

When we moved in, older people would say to us “Oh, you bought Grandma Betty’s house! She always had the most beautiful gardens in town.” And the rock borders of her gardens are still here, surrounding trees in what is now dense brush, surrounding empty circles, suggesting that once there was a lush, orderly abundance. But now her flowers grow wild, spilling out onto pathways, suddenly appearing between trees, showering April and June and August with beauty that we have not earned.

And they were gone, the flowers, gone for a dozen years, until children moved back in again. And now the yard is suddenly purple and white with crocuses, yellow with daffodils, pink with the haunting fragility of peonies, and once upon a time, there was a woman who lived here who was called Grandma by everyone in town.

There is her hand, I think, when the flowers come back every year. “Pretty!” my children cry, as they run past. Things end, things do not end.

11 Responses to The Ghost Garden
  1. Sue
    April 15, 2010 | 1:33 pm

    Haunting and lovely…Ghost and Flowers. Perfectly done.


  2. Becky
    April 15, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    I can believe that is The Girl. But what I cannot comprehend is that is The Baby! Oh, my, when was the last time I saw a picture of her? I remember her with pink boots I think. Certainly they do not fit her anymore.

  3. Omaha Mama
    April 15, 2010 | 7:47 pm

    Your description of your gardening skills would be something I could copy and paste into a description about myself. My thumbs, they are not green. But I do love flowers and spring is so beautiful, I’m so glad for the flowers that dare to grow here despite my inability to care for them.

  4. Nicole
    April 15, 2010 | 10:19 pm

    I love gardening. Perennials feel like such a GIFT in spring. Just seeing them poking their sprouty green heads up…it’s a gift.

  5. Hannah
    April 15, 2010 | 11:22 pm

    This is our situation almost exactly! We moved into a house that was formerly owned by a man who worked from home and had grown kids — ergo, plenty of free time to putter knowledgeably in the yard. The gardens and landscaping were a big selling point for the house. I do my best, but always hope that he and his wife never try to pay a nostalgic visit to their old homestead, as he’d surely be clutching the brow, as Wodehouse would say.
    He and Grandma Betty must be soulmates!

  6. suburbancorrespondent
    April 16, 2010 | 12:21 am

    April! You poor people…our crocuses show up by late February.

  7. Chantal
    April 16, 2010 | 10:31 pm

    What a beautiful post. Makes me glad I garden, maybe I can leave behind a footprint like hers.

  8. Sara
    April 20, 2010 | 6:17 pm

    Very, very nice.

  9. Sara
    April 23, 2010 | 8:58 am

    We bought a house and inherited the flowers from the previous owners. We’re not as crafty as they were, but we try to maintain the weeding. It is beautiful to see new flowers pop up every month.

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    April 15, 2012 | 9:57 am

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