The Promise to Return

Mauve Daylilies with Yellow Throats, 2015

Mauve Daylilies with Yellow Throats, 2015

I began to shape this post in Mid-September, around the time shadows grew, light waned and plantings began to lose color and die off.

One of my greatest pleasures and passions is gardening. From early April to mid October, every time I enter my front garden filled with an array of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees, I am immersed in a spectrum of colors, shapes, and smells. Daily, I scan and take stalk of each bed. I look for blooms and insects. I consider what plant needs deadheading, cutting back, or water.

I note leaves. Are they wilted or firm? Each plant has the potential to invoke its own sense of gratitude. Shower a drooping zinnia; and within minutes, its head will lift, its leaves will splay with vitality. My wide, dapple-leaved Daphne shrub, a six-year survivor of three, gets first prize for beauty and resilience.

Mornings in July, I resonate with the intoxicating rhythms of sun-lit lilies—purple, red, effervescent yellow, and peach. Their lace-fringed petals, vibrant throats, nubile stamens fuel my gratitude. At day’s end, when a blossom has twisted and closed, I note with gratitude the eloquence of its soft coil.

Labor Day weekend, a marker of summer’s end, I needed a memory maker, a new space to explore, something to lift my spirits. Marv and I searched out and found the walking path around Waban Lake, adjacent to Wellesley College in the next town. The trail was mixed— at first, urban, cared for by the college groundskeepers, wide, even and pretty. But in short order, it shifted. Dirt based, slopping and rugged with varied leafy and evergreen trees, the feel was at once familiar, reminiscent of long ago campfire girl camp hikes at Camp Hitinowa on Lake Cobboseecontee in Lichfield, Maine.

We walked with caution on the uneven terrain thick with tree roots, when the forest cleared and we came upon a stone, castle-like mansion with a front yard hillside of sculptured trees facing the lake. I marveled at the thought of the bevy of gardeners on ladders, the balanced effort it must have taken to shape these trees into thick, round discs reaching skyward. The effect was old world, perhaps, French, leaving me to wonder about the marvel of contrasts, how a new trail can engender the unexpected.

The property’s walkway was groomed, wide and even, bounded by a likeside stonewall. Along the edge of the perimeter, I came upon several thick lily beds with a rich harvest of sticks. No markers for the colors that had gone-by, I could only imagine the lush foliage. The stretch was sunny, facing the bucolic lake, an ideal location for lilies to flourish. I was at once at home, delighted to come upon the familiar yellowing leaves—grateful for my day’s quest and the promise to return and witness their blooms come summer.


8 thoughts on “The Promise to Return

      1. Carol

        Faye….I loved it and could feel your yearning/appeal for gardening. I’ve just sent this piece to a friend who LOVES gardening as much as you do. I know she’ll enjoy it.
        Sending hugs,Carol

        1. fayewriter Post author

          You are a sweetie to pass it on…especially to a passionate gardener. Thanks, Carl and hugs to you, too!

  1. Beverly Bader

    Your love for your plantings in your botanical-like garden is described vividly! I feel your pleasure and delight as you frequently observe and care for your perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees. Most of all, I’m touched by your careful attention and appreciation for their different qualities and specific needs! How lucky they are to have such caring. No wonder they
    continue to smile. How grateful you are to receive such pleasure from their beauty. No wonder you continue to smile.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Bev, indeed, you caught the intent of my “Return” blog spot on. Thank you for your kind words.

  2. Rosemary Booth

    After reading this piece, I have a new understanding of what a gardener must feel–the promise of return implicit in every plant. You can count on it! I liked your description of plant responses to gestures of care, as when the zinnia straightens up on being watered, and the way your essay highlight’s nature’s ready reassurance…

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Rosemary, yes— there is the promise and the hope of return—oh, so present this time of year as the light grows stronger and the seedlings begin their growth.

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