Over the last six months, my family and I have worked hard to build a garden out of a barren hay field. When we began, it was merely a roughed out area in March, just north of the mound system and within 100 feet of our yard. It was cold, muddy and only the earliest of wild mustards and clovers were daring to peek up above the ground.
But in my mind's eye, a single vision kept me going. I pictured a beautiful fenced-in garden with flowers and veggies mixed with herbs and raised beds. I pictured warm breezes and sparkling sunshine, offset by some sort of patio-type sitting area with shade. The borders would hold myriad flowers for my vases and viewing pleasure. The wide beds would hold bounties of vegetables to feed and nourish my family. The work would be unending and cyclical. All that, I was able to imagine as we pounded T-posts into the barely thawed ground.
This vision came to me in full and glorious reality this past weekend.
Everything was there! Everything was thriving! The garden was not only feeding us, it was nourishing us as well. About a month ago, the garden was given the gift of a beautiful hand-crafted gate, which my mother and father-in-law took upon themselves to build and install. That act of love, a self-less contribution to my garden endeavor, gives me joy every time I get to walk through it. And what's more, the gate is so lovely that it takes the whole space into a whole new level.
I can't in good consciousness call it my Craigslist Garden anymore. It's just too wonderful. It is now my Cottage Garden and everyone is welcome. Come, sit a spell and draw in strength and peace from the beauty all around you. In just a short month or so, the season will be drawing to a close and we will begin the process of closing down the Cottage Garden. Until then, all the long hours, the physical labor, the tears of frustration and the sunburned arms ... that doesn't matter to me anymore.
It was all worth it. All of it. You know why? I've never had a place such as this that brought me joy just to know I am in the middle of it. I hope you, too, have found a place that offers such peace and recharging as my garden does for me.
And my family.