Report From PIA – September 6
When I was a teenager I used to read the copies of my mother’s Ladies Home Journal. I’d pour over a column titled “Can this marriage be saved?” and wonder about the couples featured there. Why is he unable to bend, I’d wonder, and why is she so unwilling to compromise?
I remembered this column when I disagreed with my husband about bringing a couple of plants to Poison Ivy Acres. He loves bamboo, and wanted some on the property. I bought a clump growing Fargesia ‘Green Panda’, in hopes that this would satisfy him. It didn’t. He wanted the tall growing kind, the kind that gets thick canes that he can cut and use in the garden. He wanted the running, golden bamboo…the invasive variety.
Reminding myself that these are his gardens too, I tried to argue nicely. Failing to ban this plant altogether, I then switched to negotiations on where it should be planted. Out by the road was my preferred location, and he planted some there, but he also placed a few canes down near one of my willow trees. I watered it for him today, even through every particle of my being wanted to spray it with Agent Orange.
He also loves Siberian iris, and I do not. Yes, it’s lovely when it’s in bloom, but it flowers for about ten minutes and needs dividing every time you turn around. I think iris are the poster children for the fact that pass-along plants are usually pass-along problems.
Now we have iris…too many of them in my opinion, but once again I’m willing to cooperate because in general I have free reign plant and garden-wise. So there’s now a drift of iris behind the rain garden. We are in a partnership, after all, and I married him for better or worse. And if the worst is a few plants that take over, are high maintenance, and come with other pass-along problems such as bindweed and ivy, well, that’s not so bad.
We’re in many relationships, I was thinking as I watered the iris and bamboo today. Some would say they’re working with God or the universe, others that they are joined only to chance or luck. In and out of the garden we’re called on to cooperate, negotiate and concede. I’m willing to compromise on a couple of plants, but how open am I to give in in other areas of my life? I’m ready to put a great deal of effort into expanding my writing and speaking, for example, but am I willing to put the same work into being at peace if these things don’t take me where I want to go?