If you’ve only seen the property in October and November, you might be forgiven for forgetting that when spring comes all those trees will get leaves on them, which will shade the south side of the house. In July this is truly a blessing, but it destroys the plans you had for a prairie garden of sun-loving native plants — yarrow and scurfpea, iron weed and vervain, wild sunflowers and milkweed, cone flowers and compass plants.
So the beds get filled with other plants, gifts from friends and family, some relocated from other places around the yard, and a few that you just couldn’t resist at the grocery store, discount store, and nursery.
And then, it starts to happen. As you move dirt here and there and tend the lovely but, definitely foreign, flowers you’ve planted, other things start to appear — a patch of Jerusalem artichokes here, a clump of black eyed Susans there, a poke weed next to the lilac, a wild morning glory vine, and finally some daisy fleabane, wild poinsettias, and even a wooly mullein.
It isn’t the wild flower garden that you’d planned, but you move them into more convenient places and watch them thrive. They’re drought tolerant, tough to kill, beautiful and free, and you know that they belong here. Instead of Thoreau’s beans, you’re making the earth to say violets and oxalis instead of broadleaf plaintain and bermuda grass.
And it is good.
Perhaps the better coming unexpectedly, each one a gift of grace, unplanned and unanticipated, but lovely, and just exactly right.