One of the great pleasures of going away is seeing what other places, and other people, do with their gardens. In our area of Long Island, I'm never impressed. It's as if entire blocks seem relegated to the Buy-1-Get-2-Free aisle at Wal-mart, featuring the sad combo of brownish orange with pepto pink.
This weekend, I went to Milwaukee for a Sahara benefit and there, the beds were just beginning to green up downtown. In the limited part of town I visited, there were no vibrant gardens to make me jealous. For once, I came home glowing and knowing that my own carefully cultivated garden, was going to produce a whole symphony of colors and scents this spring. I'd waited patiently for the necessary two to three years that perennials take to get established, and THIS WAS MY YEAR.
The keyword being was. Because today, in an earnest but foolish attempt to help weed the beds (which I pay a gardener to weed), my husband tore up every last perennial, then hacked up the roots. The rudbeckia, the echinacea, the foxgloves and delphiniums, the columbines, chrysanthemums and shastas, all gone.
The weeds and dandelions are still there. He thought they were pretty. He was so proud of what he'd done; I think he was stunned when I stood in the driveway half hollering and half crying.
The hole in my garden is unbearable; the hole in my heart is worse. I know he didn't mean it, but I can't help alternating between devastation and rage. And yes, I know there are far bigger things to worry about. But all I can think is that I no longer have the time or ability to replace that; that I'm going to have to stare at the hideous mulch and weedy bits forever. And if he tries to do the right thing and replace what he killed, I'll end up with three shriveled-up half-dead brownish orange and pink annuals that bring some weird disease to kill off my roses.
I think this may be worse than the time he locked me out of the house.