Garden envy … er, inspiration

When my husband and I stroll by a certain neighbor’s yard, the one lined with Black-Eyed Susans at the front of her garden, he says quietly, “That looks really nice.” He’s right. The eight bushes shine their own light in the setting sun.

I walk through a meadow filled with Black-Eyed Susans and feel a need to capture a small part of that golden riot in my own yard.


A field ablaze with Black-Eyed Susans

I want to plant as many Black-Eyed Susans as I can find, except that I’m not sure how they’ll do in our less sun-filled garden spots shaded by towering trees. I hate to waste the money, and even more, I hate to waste the plants if I can’t put them in a good place to grow.


Perhaps this one bloom will bring many more.

So I’ve started with two pots full – just to try them out – knowing I can add more if these two thrive where I’ve put them.


This one enjoys a sunny spot on the porch steps, but I must find a place in the ground for it.


In the ground. Will the deer and chipmunks leave them alone?

They’re in the ground now, and time will decide how they fare.

While I wait for time and the flowers to decide their own fate, I read Sandra Cisneros’ sweet coming-of-age book The House on Mango Street and am moved by what the young narrator – a girl with my name in Spanish – says right there on page 33:

You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up
drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here
there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies are too
few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we
take what we can get and make the best of it.

I plant because I want butterflies too many to count and flowers too numerous to pick a favorite and a garden that captures beauty, so that no one walking by will say there is not enough of any of it.

But there’s this small part of me that wonders: is envy what drives me to fill the garden? Or is it inspiration?

8 thoughts on “Garden envy … er, inspiration

  1. Oh, gardeners are next to God. It’s not envy; it’s inspiration and wanting to share His glory. How can you not be moved by the beauty of a garden or just the awesome moment of a perfect flower, moss, tree or rock in nature? To dig and plant is a closeness with the earth.

    • Loy — I love your comment. As you can tell, I try to stop often to let those beautiful moments and single blooms inspire me and remind me of God’s goodness and his majesty. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. Fascinating question–trying to distinguish envy from inspiration. I’ve wondered about that in my own life, but it’s really helpful to be able to look at it in you, where I can see it more objectively. What it looks like from here is that you outsmarted envy. You overcame “evil” with good. I see you taking envy (a “bent” good) and “unbending” it, reshaping it into something profitable and good–increasing the beauty in the world and in your life. I like that. Inspiration is your solution to envy.

    • I don’t think I always outsmart envy, but I’m glad you think I did in this case. You’re right about being able to look at the issue more clearly in others than in ourselves.

      After working in my garden for a hot few hours today, I do envy those who don’t have trouble with varmints. I’ve lost a gardenia and a Lenten rose to them in the last day or so. Makes me want to hang up my gardening hat and gloves and take up a different hobby.

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