I believe that there is a very fine line between a vivid imagination and reality. As we get older, that fine line broadens until we get to a certain stage in life when it seems to dissolve away completely.
For example, the conifer kids came by for a visit the other day. They are a very nice young couple with a six-year-old son. You may remember that I mentioned this little fella in a post a while back – he wondered where the gnomes lived in my garden. They have visited a few times since that initial visit and every time they are here, their little boy wanders off on his own in the garden. One time we found him laying down on his stomach, knees bent and feet bobbing about in the air, talking with my miniature Picea glauca ‘Elf’. When I asked if he was talking to my plants he laughed, called me silly, and said that plants don’t talk. Then he jumped up and ran off as if he were chasing a butterfly. His parents and I exchanged glances and continued our conversation. Kids have vivid imaginations, right?
Several years ago my wife and I traveled 45 miles south to where my grandmother had lived most of her life – well, most of mine anyway. She was nearly 100 years old at the time and we had almost convinced her that it was time to sell her home and move into a very nice place that could provide her the additional care she needed. We were sitting out on her back patio, in the shade of her giant oak tree one summer’s afternoon. I knew that convincing her that moving away from her home and garden would be very difficult. We had been gently hinting at this for several years and she was a very strong-willed and independent woman. After listening to some of the wonderful stories of her past, we were sitting quietly and her attention seemed to be focused on something in the direction of the old Tsuga canadensis ‘Jervis’I had planted as a birthday gift for her many years ago.
She nodded her head and then turned to me and said, “I’ll go anywhere you think is best so long as my friends can come too.”
Thinking that she was referring to some of her favorite plants, I told her that they were too large to dig but we could plant some new containers for her to keep on the small deck of her new place.
She looked at me as if I was crazy and said, “Not the plants, silly, the fairies.”
My wife and I looked at each other, smiled and told her that of course they would be welcome to go with her.
My conifer garden has always seemed to attract all kinds of small critters. We share this home with quite an assortment of birds, squirrels, assorted insects, the neighbor’s cat and… well… I’ll leave that to your imagination.