One of my first blogs, two years ago, was about my flowerbeds. I’ve decided to revisit them for two reasons: 1) I don’t have much of anything else to write about at the moment and 2) I am getting so much enjoyment out of them this summer.
Right now my writing “career,” as inconsequential as it has been, seems to have ground to a halt. I had signed a contract for a book with Ingalls Publishing, the traditional small press with whom I worked during the first decade of this century, but the owner of the company died in March and his wife has decided to shut the business down. They’ll finish the couple of books they have in the pipeline. Mine isn’t one of them.
So, for the first time since 2001, I don’t have a book under contract. I’m writing one, but I have no idea if it will ever see the light of publication. And I’ve got to deal with getting rights to my earlier books and deciding what to do with them—probably republishing them in some electronic format. I’ll be 70 in September, still teaching fulltime and am something of a technophobe (or maybe technodolt), so this all feels overwhelming.
That’s where my flowerbeds come in. As I explained in an earlier post, I own two houses next door to one another. I live in one and rent the other (to my daughter and her family right now). The two houses sit on what was originally one inner-city lot that was divided about 1925, before anyone had to deal with bothersome things such as codes and minimum sizes. The lots are small and heavily shaded.
Six or seven years ago I started laying out the first flowerbed, emphasizing shade-tolerant perennials. I’ve never been a gardener, but I discovered how much I enjoy the work—and the results. I often finish my breakfast coffee sitting on the bench (inherited from my parents) in that first bed. Given my current state of melancholy, I sometimes return to the bench during the day.
In the last two years I’ve expanded into every other available spot around both houses, to the point that I don’t have any more space to plant anything. My wife and I have a little routine we call “walking the estate.” Usually after supper, we stroll around to the various beds and see what’s blooming, what needs to be dead-headed, etc. She likes to cut and arrange some of the flowers, and I have planted some showy ones in the few sunny spots that I have, just for that purpose.
Now, I’m going to follow some age-old advice: show, don’t tell. Enjoy the pictures.
Filed under: Albert Bell |