I live in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul. In the blocks surrounding my home are lots of tudors, a fair number of bungalows (like mine), and colonials. Most of the houses are nicely maintained with foundation or sidewalk edge gardens and mown lawns. I love living in this area so filled with flowers and foliage.
And while I like trim and tidy, I like wild too. I like both. The orderly and thoughtful, and the creative and spontaneous. I need the unexpected, the not sure and who knows. And, I can sit down for hours researching plants and filling out my custom-created garden database.
My spouse and I have only lived in our new house since November, so this is our first summer. It’s been wonderful discovering what we inherited in the gardens as they’ve come alive with the growing season.
Now I could have spent this time observing, learning and planning what I wanted to do. That’s a very good thing and I’m doing that. But I also am doing another entirely different thing….
I dug up nearly all of the east side of my front yard and started a 225 square foot native prairie garden. I planted 75 wildflowers and grasses plus made room for a 4×4 foot raised veggie bed.
While my front yard won’t be the only one in the area like this, there sure aren’t many (next door is an exception) and we definitely stand out in this genteel neighborhood.
Is my new garden beautiful? Can you find beauty? This garden represents beauty to me, but not because of what it will look like (which I happen to think will be very beautiful!). Beauty awakens us in the ways it catches us by surprise, grabs our attention, shakes us into seeing or realizing something we didn’t know we were looking for.
With no warning, beauty plunges us “into a state of clarity, order and wonder that our logical mind could never construct” (James Flaherty).
Whether those in my neighborhood like my garden or find it beautiful doesn’t really matter. What surprises, wisdom, connections might its beauty bring?
— Rev. Terri