The rescue garden

Originally, the coreopsis (tall plant, yellow blooms, photo below) became the centerpiece of its own picture because I wanted to show my friends. This beauty is a rescue plant from a garden several of us tend. We call it the DG.

As the camera clicked, nearby plants started calling out, as plants will: “What about me? And me?”

Turns out, each plant needed acknowledgement–either as being rescued from another part of the world immediately outside my doorstep, or as part of the DG.

The whole strip of rocky dirt where the coreopsis grows is a garden of rescues. This tiny blooming space came of age one year ago this month, when debris from our house remodeling project began to disappear. Bit by bit. This was the first space of scrubby dirt I reclaimed from workboots, ladders, wheelbarrows and trash, once workers assured me they no longer needed the weed-and-rock-covered scrap of ground for storage or walking.

Spring rejoicing commenced, courtesy of new space, new plants, old shovels. An annual ritual.

One of the first tiny plants to go in was the coreopsis. I rescued it from the granite path at the DG, a lovely (though traffic-noisy) space off Highway 27 in Kerrville that people work in, either on their own or in small groups, reclaiming pieces of Mother Earth from hungry armadillos, naughty insects and weeds. The DG is a place to love and hate, but mostly to cherish.

Gardeners will understand these emotions as applied to a garden. And probably some non-gardeners will, too. It depends on your passion.

Back to that tall plant with the yellow blooms. Taking its picture on this gray, rainy and cool morning made me realize that the DG rescued me many times in 2016. For short spans of time, this home away from home allowed me to escape from dust, jackhammers or regular hammers, trash.

And decisions about such things as how high to hang a bathroom mirror.

(Really? Yes.)

The other photo from my rescue garden shows winecups and standing cypress. No, I did not plant them here, or in such a jumble. This is how they planted themselves. In one of the winds that this part of Texas is famous for–the type of gust that starts wildfires–the seeds from these two wildflowers blew here and found safety among the weeds. They put down roots. This prompted the gardener to clear out more weeds and grass to give them growing space. Because who is a gardener to argue?

I like to think this newly cleared area influenced the winecups to bloom. Don’t mess up my fairy tale.

This is not the first time a garden has rescued me; that was a long time ago, as I tried to get over a death. In the years since, scrubby strips of dirt at my home or elsewhere, have done the job once. And once again. And again.

Proving nothing, except this: People rescue plants and gardens. Plants and gardens rescue people.

May the circle be unbroken.


  1. Jeanette Kelly said:

    This is beautiful and certainly speaks to me! Thank you for sharing!!

    April 22, 2017
    • Thank you for sharing it, Jeanette! And thanks for subscribing to the blog. The posts are few and far between but more during gardening season. Happy spring!

      April 23, 2017
  2. Ila Jean Carothers said:

    Enjoyed reading your article! Miss you and seeing you!
    Ila Jean

    April 23, 2017
    • Miss seeing you too, Ila Jean. Thought of you recently when someone asked me to do a program on your pillow gardening method…yikes. Writing about something is so much easier that talking about it. I appreciate ALL of your skills more than you know.

      April 23, 2017
  3. Carol said:

    Dear Friend Barbara, as you know, I am living proof of your theorem – people rescue plants and gardens; plants and gardens rescue people. What would I do without my flower gardens? I will add that friends who garden rescue friends who garden.

    April 23, 2017
    • That occurred to me, too, Carol. Gardening is about nurturing all friendships.

      April 26, 2017

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