By Barbara Falconer Newhall
A little rain, a little dirt, a little sun, some red wiggler worms, and a few kitchen scraps and you’ve got yourself a flower garden. My Minnesota gardener friend makes it look that easy.
I’m pretty sure she and her husband put hours of back-breaking work into that garden — composting, planting, mulching, weeding, deadheading, chasing pests. But her garden doesn’t
look like it. It looks like it just happened. Like it wants to be there on that slope between the house and the woods, just because.
And why not? Why wouldn’t rudbeckia and echinacea be blasting color every which way on this spot? Why wouldn’t hydrangeas be nodding their flawless white pom-pons just so over the stone pathway?
And how about that lone cluster of honeysuckle blossoms and those crinkling hosta
leaves? Or the phlox blossoms, spiraling out five perfect, pink and magenta petals every time? Aren’t they inevitable?
The days are long on the outskirts of Minneapolis this time of year. Latitude checks out at around 44 degrees north. So when Jon and I and the kids arrived at my friend the gardener’s house just before dinnertime earlier this month there was plenty of soft northern sunshine still lighting up the place.
It was point-and-shoot heaven. Light was coming at the garden from every direction. And the
evening was still, no breeze, which meant my friend’s flowers could hold a pose long enough for my point-and-shoot to take its time getting them into focus.
It was a guilty pleasure for me. I’d been invited to a social event. Everyone else was indoors enjoying the hors d’oeuvres and the human companionship. And I was out here in the garden. Just me and my trusty point-and-shoot, elbow deep in nature doing what nature does – with some help, in this case, from my friend the gardener.
FYI photography buffs: my camera is a Canon G12, which I bought a few years ago when my old Nikkormat film camera broke down. I thought I’d just use the Canon until I could get myself a fancy SLR or the like, but the G12 has proved so light-weight, handy and amazingly good at getting photos without any fiddling around with speeds and f-stops on my part that I have gotten addicted to it. One of these days I’ll read the directions and figure out how to use it manually . . . maybe after my book is finished, published and duly promoted.