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What's the Difference between Plans and Resolutions?

My semi-double, raspberry-pink William Baffin rose makes a gorgeous display on the arbor over the entrance to the garden, and a romantic moment when you walk under it. But every spring the seven-foot bush sends out more long arching canes, that hang over everything around it, shading out what I'd planted there when the rose was smaller. Finally I dug up and moved several plants, leaving empty ground.

Meanwhile my Frances Williams hosta—big, round leaves, thick and puckered, deep blue-green with a silvery sheen and irregular yellow margins—has been languishing in the woods. The shade's just right, but the pines don't leave her enough moisture. In William B's shade, she'd have the soaker hose, too.

But voles tunnel nearby, and they like hostas. I was already entertaining the hope of getting the spot dug deeply and adding a lot of compost. Ah! I thought: in the process, I should line the hole with aluminium hardware cloth. A perfect solution for Frances W.—but my back is in no shape to do the job. I wonder if the challenge of making the cage would interest my husband? Relying on others to carry out my garden plans, means resolving to be content with what they do.

Another bare spot, near but not right next to William Baffin, is over the leach tank (what we have after our septic tank, instead of a leach field). That warms the bed in winter: maybe a good site for silver-edged thyme, which isn't hardy here. But is there enough sun? When I first created the bed it got full sun; but the huge rose is south of it.

Still I want so much to grow that thyme, wishful thinking latches onto the old idea of sun there. Of course I can try it, see how it does. After all, I discovered that caraway thyme and Hall's wooly thyme thrive in a lot more shade than you'd expect.... Still I risk the heartbreak of watching a great plant struggle and decline. Most of the time it's a better idea to discipline my mind to think realistically, and not get carried away with my cravings.

It's easy to make plans for the garden, my mind spins them out nonstop. Not so easy to resolutely choose the wise ones. Plus, I distinctly remember already resolving not to dig up beds before I knew what was going to put in them.

© Copyright 2003 Catherine Holmes Clark


Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 26 December 2003

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In the photo, Frances Williams looks pretty good at the black foot of that pine tree—because I took it early in the year. Later she gets quite ragged. Plus, a six-year-old hosta should be a lot fuller than this!