I don’t remember the day or even the year, but I’ll always remember the moment my garden first spoke to me.
Our house was newly constructed when my husband and I bought it in 2008. I loved the interior – everything fresh and modern with plenty of room for us and my elderly mother. I hated the property – a third of an acre of barren sand and dust in the middle of a high desert subdivision. It didn’t hold a candle to the place I had wanted and we had argued about. That old rancher, perched on a hill overlooking town, was in serious need of renovations but had the most glorious acre of flowering shrubs, tall pines, and willowy trees that formed a natural arbor over the path leading to the front door.
“The land speaks to me,” I pleaded with my husband. “We’ve moved so many times over the years. When I was standing there among the trees, I felt like I was home.”
His actual response eludes me now, but it was something practical, I’m sure. Something like, “The house is speaking to me, and it says it’s more work than we can handle. We can do our own landscaping at a new build.”
Combined, our handyman talents would fit on the tip of my index finger, so I knew he was right. We went with the new build. We moved in just as winter was coming on, so the backyard remained a sandy wasteland until spring when we began picking out pine and crabapple trees at our favorite nursery and anchoring trellises where honeysuckle and wisteria would grow.
One day, when my husband was laying out rock paths that would eventually wind through our desert oasis, he suddenly stopped and asked if I wanted a section of the yard for a rose garden. The thought hadn’t occurred to me, but I immediately agreed and began dreaming of yellow roses climbing up the fence and heirloom roses with names like Queen Elizabeth and Sugar Moon circling a sunburst locust tree.
Of course, landscaping is expensive and cultivation takes time, so it was a few years before I had a real, honest-to-goodness rose garden. The kind that you can get lost in when you’re on your knees sifting fertilizer into the soil or pruning wayward canes. The kind that takes your breath away at the height of spring. The kind that speaks to you as you walk among the beauty.
Indeed, it was spring when my breathtaking garden first spoke to me. And, indeed, I was walking among the beauty. I remember stopping short when I heard the whispering. I remember just standing there for the longest time quietly listening. I remember what my garden said.
“You’re home, Laurie. This is home.”
And it was.