Pruning. As in Mindy, who owns M and M Flowers with her sister Melissa, sent her crew to prune the boxwood and Techny arborvitae at the shop, on June 15, my birthday. If you pruned your boxwood in early April, ahead of that string of killing frost nights in late April, I can only say that better things come to those who wait. Next year, wait until the spring growth on your boxwood fully flushes out-this means the first week of June-and then prune. We only do this once a year; it is a day worth waiting for. Not so much frost damage is visible now.
Poem. As in a gift from Jenny. Jenny handles all of our internet inquiries, sales, and shipping. She keeps the website updated via her photographs, and writing. She wrote this poem as a gift to me for my birthday. If you read the poem, you will see clearly that she sees me. She is good at that with many people-not just me. I can only say it feels good to be seen. I could never pay her for what she is worth-that part of her is a gift to me. She has an astonishingly inventive artisanal publishing company which produces great work for clients, in her off time. I wish you could hold the paper in your hand, and study the type.
Portrait. A graphite portrait of the Corgis. Pete and Tine are the sum total of my blood family-they live far away. They commissioned Sheona Hamilton Grant, a Belgian artist who specializes in equestrian and canine portraits, to draw my beloved Corgis. Apparently Rob provided photographs. The drawing captures their spirit, and my love for them. I was so shocked and so delighted-having unpacked the crate. They are the best blood family any girl could hope for, and Sheona is a very talented artist.
Providence. As in the protective nature of Of God, or of nature, as a spiritual power-this from Wikipedia. 17 years ago, Rob hauled a concrete statue of the Madonna up to the north side of my house-he placed it under a rough roof supported by pipes. I was certain that structure was a shrine to the Madonna. She would look out and after me, and my garden. But a few years later, my Madonna was stolen. She has been gone for 9 years, this year. For my birthday, Buck replaced that statue. Why at 62 does this mean so much? I am a Catholic of the sort that believes in the miracle that is nature. As for God-oh yes, I am a believer. I so believe the stories of all of the saints, but I especially treasure any sculptural expression of the Madonna. My life and garden is once again under her protection now, thanks to Buck.
Playing it forward. 20 years ago Rob came to work for me. 16 years ago I bought a building, and made plans to open a shop devoted to all great things for the garden. Rob was there every step of the way. Cheering the both of us on. Shopping overseas. Giving his all. Those early Detroit Garden Works years were tough. We worked day and night. He loaned everything he had to this project. His eye, his talent, his energy and his heart. Back then, there were no shops devoted to fine ornament for the garden. We were foolhardy, and patient.
Detroit Garden Works is quite a place. Have you been there? If you go, you will see Rob’s influence everywhere. You will not get better help with a project or an issue in a garden anywhere better than his help-of this I am convinced. On the afternoon of my birthday on Friday, I went to my attorney and put the shop in trust for Rob. It will go to him. Saturday night Buck cooked up a birthday dinner for all of the Detroit Garden Works staff. I had a special tee shirt made for everyone to commemorate the event. Everyone at work was in on the plan-Rob had no clue what was coming. Needless to say it was a very emotional and happy occasion. Becoming 62 meant to me it was time for him to know the shop would eventually be his, when I am still around to help. With him more involved the the DGW business, I might have more time to spend on writing and taking photographs-and myy first love-the landscape. I am happy and to say I have I have made a change that makes turning 62 worth it. The best part-I paid it forward to a person with whom I have had an important relationship for 20 years. I cannot tell you how good this felt.
Party-as in a true cause for celebration. The Detroit Garden Works staff is very fond of Rob-this was a move they approved. One birthday present from Rob-glow sticks. We all wore them. Buck cooked brats, and made potato salad.
Present. As in we were all present, and Rob had another present that so tells the story of what a remarkable human being he is. Wish lanterns-have you ever heard of them? I had not. He regularly advises me about things I have never heard of-this is just one of the thousand reasons that I treaure him. They look like a small paper version of a hot air balloon. You light the base on fire, wait for the warm air to fill the paper balloon, and gently send them skyward. Make a wish. Go for broke. Launch something.
I sent no wish aloft for Rob. He doesn’t need any wishes-He is chock full of talent. My wish was entirely for my own 62nd year-hopefully full of surprises, challenges, and meaningful work. This was my happiest birthday ever-no kidding.