Friday, March 15, 2013

Green Out Every Window

Green out every window. Four words. But they were four words that made a difference. For me they contained the essence of an entire garden. A garden I would build, from the ground up, for our home in Northern Nevada.

From its windows, high on a windswept hill, we saw only a dead yard and a dusty desert landscape rolling away in the distance.

Green out every window was my vision for a lush shawl of landscape buffering us from the brown. I saw green draping over fences, spilling out of planting beds, and climbing up trellises. I wanted green everywhere I looked. Green out every window.

With single-minded focus, I pored over glossy garden magazines, plucking ideas from the verdant confines of someone else’s courtyard, or the lush lines of a cottage garden bed. I took notes, made plans, drew pictures and wrote lists.  Then I visited nurseries, purchased plants, and punctured holes in the rocky dirt, tucking my new prospects into place. Slowly, little mounds of green began to stud the brown expanse.

 I snapped photos and wrote blog posts detailing my plans, my progress, and my vision for green out every window.  Green out every window.

About a year into this process, with only a quarter of the garden planted, we learned we would move for one year for my husband’s job. Our destination: a suburb on the outskirts of Washington DC. I was not pleased. My dreams of green were only just beginning to take shape, and big stretches of the garden remained empty and brown.

Alas, I snapped some final photos, hired a fellow gardener to tend to my young starts, and we were off. We ended up in a townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia. For those familiar with the region, it will come as no surprise what greeted us when we arrived last summer: green. Green out every window. Green with a dozen different textures and a hundred different hues. Green that towers above our three-story townhouse, spills out of window boxes, and cloaks garden walls. Green out every window.

Looks like all along I thought I was making a garden, but what I’d actually made was a mantra. A mantra fueled by every turned page of a magazine, and every blow of my pickaxe. A mantra so effective it wouldn’t abide the sluggish growth of a new garden, so it transplanted us to an established one.

One question remains: What will be my mantra now?

What will be yours?