Snagged by Mums


I have moved around quite a bit within the city of Indianapolis, with a brief stint in Carmel, a suburb north of Indianapolis. Each time I get to a new place I build a garden. Some of it is that I really really dislike turf: gardens are a more imaginative way to use space. Gardens are far more propitious. The plants mean something, like holly, planted by doorways, is about hospitality.

I put a lot of myself into the gardens I build. When I move, leaving is painful. Leaving my house and garden earlier this year was very painful, the hollys just getting mature, the roses getting tall and profuse. The landscape kept telling me shrubs and trees, and that’s what I did. Now I’m afraid to go back and see if the tree I planted is still there after the drought. It’s a pin oak, in late afternoon making complex shadows against my blinds. It was getting tall the last time I saw it.

I have been determined to not get snagged by this house. No garden here! The owner, the upstairs roommate, was raised in New Mexico. After over 20 years in Indiana he still is in xeroscape mode, sowing salt to kill weeds, for example – something of a botanical illiterate. Worse, he pays no attention to me when I tell him he’s crazy.

When he came home with a truck full of mums from a friends yard I got snagged a bit. The front bed now has purple mums in profusion, with yellow as an accent. It’s a good change. It was a big job and I made him help.

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