by Jean McCamy
We don’t have a tidy yard. It’s a big, sprawling former pasture and filled with surprises, some from Mother Nature and some from my mother, even though she’s been gone for more than 20 years.
Bob has an orderly vegetable garden behind a fence and he has added some flowers for me to cut, but the world outside the fence sort of fends for itself. We do keep the grass (or clover, or whatever) mowed, do some pruning and pull the largest and most obnoxious of the weeds, but we let many of the vines twine and the wildflowers bloom at will.
I am particularly fond of the Queen Anne’s lace that has taken happy hold of the former perennial garden in front of the house and we have a wonderful bed of wild asparagus, where a trash pile was pushed away, that gives us a bountiful harvest of thumb sized shoots every spring.
My mother had a really green thumb and, when she built this house, planted shrubs and beds of flowers and ground covers all over the place. When I moved here, I tried to maintain them, but I don’t have her talent for growing things and the more fragile flowers have faded away. We still have daffodils, irises, lilies, peonies and primroses she planted that delight us every year, and then there are the surprises that keep popping up.
Spider lilies and obedient plants appear in all sorts of new places, and after we’d lived here for a decade, we had a beautiful patch of white Japanese iris come up in the midst of all the purple ones. Now they have spread to several other locations.
This year’s unexpected surprise is a purple clematis blooming beside the front porch. I remember there being one there about 25 years ago, but have no idea why it decided to suddenly reappear. I guess it’s just another lovely reminder of the lovely lady who was my mother.
—Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.