Spare the Garden

Don’t sacrifice the sweet Joe Pye weed. Our friend Joe first told me what it is and killed himself about a year later.

Don’t sacrifice the witch hazel. It will anchor the fairy forest when everything is older.
Spare the shadbush and swamp milkweed. Both were mowed down last year by your cousin’s children and have made an impressive comeback.

Save the dwarf irises. You wanted them, after all. Ditto for the maidenhair fern, Christmas fern, and lady fern, all of which I also like.

Don’t let them trample the black cohosh. It withered last summer when the rain garden failed to work as planned, but look how broadly it has spread its leaves. 

Keep them away from the wild geraniums and the woodland columbine. Each has flowered for the first time. Let them go to seed.

Let them trample the Solomon seal. It’s the Asian variety, not the native one I wanted, and you like it more than I do, anyway. 

The strawberries are probably safe, tucked away. The violets will also come back if stomped, unlike me.

The dog’s ashes are under the fox sedge. The kennel had called when we were states away. I felt like the President ordering a drone strike, to bring death out of the blue to a far-off land. The vet was kind and put her to sleep. 

Think of the bees, the butterflies, the hummingbirds, the cardinals, Carolina wrens, and the chipmunk in the shade. The nectars, the pollens, the seeds. 

You said I planted the garden in a way that only I could enjoy. It is not mine to control.


Richmond, VA

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