Six on Saturday

On this mid-May afternoon, too damp to work outside, I browse through some of my garden journals for inspiration and writing prompts. Five years ago, we considered downsizing to a retirement place, weighing disadvantages against the few advantages. But, I asked Hubby, how ever can I leave my gardens for a hotel-like one-bed suite?

We’ve worked hard and spent plenty good money for 40+ years making this once plain corner lot into a lush plot. We read lots of books, toured gardens, studied plant culture and garden design, and learned to blend traditional English/French/Colonial American styles touched by a bit of Italian. It all began with a Tasha Tudor-illustrated book called Kitchen Gardens.

In its early years, the garden’s crosswalk of flat concrete blocks intersected four beds of summer vegetables and a few culinary herbs.

We found a source in town for used bricks, giving the area a more refined appearance inspired by our first visit to Colonial Williamsburg.

John Blair Garden, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

We added four bushes of Old Roses and surrounded the plot with boxwood. And we introduced English ivy, a honeysuckle vine and climbing roses trained to a pair of trellises flanking either side of a bench arbor similar to this one.

The summer and fall before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had the house exterior repainted. Sadly, and unfortunately, everything against that back wall of the herb garden had to come down. The work crew was none too gentle. I tried to harvest as many herbs as I could before the men trampled everything to the ground. They tossed the trellises onto the lawn, the arbor bench, too, and damaged all the roses.

Herbs, however, are a hardy lot. They recovered from the shock and appeared anew the following spring. Judicious pruning helped reshape damaged rose bushes, but this spring I haven’t pruned at all; I’m allowing the canes to grow naturally long, so we’ll see. The broken climbing roses may or may not return at all. Oh, well. The trellises are gone, anyway.

The bench arbor is back in place after Hubby repaired it, although a bit wobbly. A couple of lush hanging planters suspended from the arbor corners will work wonders by summer, I’m sure.


Celebrating just over fifty years of holy matrimony, I am blessed to be a mother of two and grandmother of seven. Much of my writing speaks to the culture and tradition of the Deep South, where I spent the first thirty-five years of my life before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. As a poet and essayist, I’ve published both online and in print media. I launched this INVITATION TO THE GARDEN blog the summer of 2017 on I look forward to hearing your stories, too!

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