My patch of Eden is a little urban patio garden hidden from public view by a tall picket fence.
I never planned on having or making a garden. One of the many reasons I bought a condominium and not a house was my habit to shun mowing, planting, weeding, watering, and grounds maintenance of any kind. I lack the required inclination.
And yet the patio garden was a key factor in choosing this condominium and none of the dozens Judy, my agent, showed me as I entered the dreaded second year of The Hunt. In this patch of Eden, almost instantly, I felt a peaceful calm and a refuge from the chaos lurking beyond its enclosing picket fence.
If you are petite like me, when you are inside the garden and look outside, you see nothing but the deep shades of green of old trees — part of Atlanta's lush vegetation, the reason Georgia's capital is called City in the Park.
Within days of moving into my new home, I transformed the bland patio, turning it into my little urban patio garden. Between unpacking boxes and settling in, I replaced the thin patches of thirsty grass with cedar chips (two bags, medium-size chips) and slate tiles (three, randomly placed). Next, I dotted areas lacking them with perennials (lily-like green-and-white hostas, long fleshy-stemmed purple Wandering Jews [the plant kind], as examples).
Over the years, try as I might, when I sit on the bench enjoying cool evening breezes or bask in sunny spring warmth, I cannot read even the best book. Oh, I progress a few lines . . . and then, I eye a pot that requires leveling or a vine that needs a trim.
I snoop around a lot, looking for signs of rot or bug infestation. I might decide to replant one of the six-pack specials I bought, ever seeking the perfect resting place for each unit. And, of course, during droughts (such as the one this summer), despite my pre-garden pledge to shun watering, I hose down my little Eden between midnight and 10 AM, even days only (because my unit number is even: 1332).
Indoors, curiosity draws my cat and me to the windows. We gaze on the garden with quick looks or hunker down for longer stretches. We are waiting for them. And whether they arrive on feet, wings, or belly, garden guests delight and fascinate.
Each day (and some nights), seated on a child's chair beside the front door, Mica (mee-kah) studies the scene indoors, and then turns to peer through the window alongside the door, scanning for possibilities to ponder outside.
Sometimes, when she needs another view — the
better to study her sightings, Mica switches to her
lookout perch on the kitchen windowsill.
What is the payoff for her (and my) patient vigil?
A multicolored bird . . .
A golden butterfly . . .
A brown (sometimes iridescent blue-green) lizard . . .
A chipmunk at attention . . .
And another chipmunk. (Maybe it's the same
one? How would I know?)
No matter the season or time of day or night, seven years after moving here, I harvest continuously from my Eden bountiful relief and abundant comfort.
Like my garden, I grow. Always changing. Never finished.