Thursday, June 12, 2008

Garden Spirits

A curious trend, among some people, is to place certain plastic, metal or wooden objects on prominent display in or near their gardens, that have nothing to do with the plants themselves.

These things are usually not large enough to act as an impediment to animals or other beings intent on messing with the garden, and are used mostly for decoration.

But there's also the unconscious belief that by placing these things in the garden, it will bring good luck--and if your object is a replica of a spirit entity, that it will protect and watch over the little seedlings as they eke their way out of the soil.

I, too, have fallen into this strange practice. My Tibetan prayer flags on the roof of the tool shed send wishes to the universe, a grinning Buddha sits among the medicinal herbs (minus a hand, which somehow got broken off last summer), and a wood spirit scowls from the windowsill to any slugs hovering maliciously around the new tomato plants.

I got the Tibetan flags in Cambridge, Mass., the buddha at the dollar store, and the wood spirit from a whittler in Wisconsin (carved from the bark of native trees), courtesy of Ebay. And there they reign, in the queendom of veggies and flowers, from late May to mid-November, when I close up the garden and return them to the shed for the winter. Except the flags. They stay all year round and bear the brunt of thrashing rains that plaster them to the roof and drain their color, or frigid winters where they're either encased in ice or totally buried. I have to replace them every year but they have become such a tradition, I cannot imagine the place without them.

Some relatives dropped by last week to deliver four large raspberry plants and a pot containing six strawberry cuttings. They assured me we will have raspberries in July and again in September, from these plants. Yesterday there were little flowers on the strawberry plants.

I love my garden.

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