My imaginary garden

In winter, amid unceasing cold and snow, a gardener spends most of his time with an imaginary garden that might, or might not, become reality in spring.

Courtesy of Gene Bush
When snow covers the garden and all in it, the gardener begins to dream of an imaginary garden, where all is perfect.
Courtesy of Gene Bush
A few months from now, will this garden guardian be surrounded by landscape improvements dreamed up during the dreary cold weather?

Perhaps because I did not have an imaginary friend as a child, at this late date in my life I find myself with an imaginary garden. It seems to appear strongest between mid-January and mid-February and hangs around until latter part of March. It does seem to fade in and out beginning late February, but still presents itself at odd moments throughout the year.

Most of the time, it travels beside me whispering quietly, but on occasion, can be quite up in my face with its insistence in wanting to become reality.

If Walt Disney productions was aware of this strong desire to leave the imaginary and become a "Real Garden" (Are you listening Pinocchio? Tinker Bell, I do believe), it could become a multimillion-dollar movie, an inspiration to gardeners everywhere.

Three companions in the garden

This winter, our continual snowstorms keep me well supplied with excuses not to go walking in my gardens. In that absence from my snow-covered hillside, my imaginary companion garden makes itself visible.

Feeding my imaginary friend are all the color-filled catalogs arriving in the mail. Enticing specials on my favorite gardening websites don't help matters when they feed a third companion named Plant Lust. And, I feel no shame for this companion, which comes to me from the dirt side of my gardening mind.

My two companions, Imaginary Garden and Plant Lust, and I will play well together for some months to come.

The hillside transformed, maybe

We will share our desires for more hardscaping. The three of us can clearly see the new deck up on the hillside under the three old cedars. We want it enclosed on two sides with board fencing, perhaps opened on one side with old window frames to view a path. Benches should face each other so we can carry on our imagined conversations. It will need a birdhouse and a tuned wind chime to entertain while I or guests are having a glass of refreshment on the new deck.

We also decided that a new raised bed needs to be constructed at the entrance to our garden. When that is completed, we will, of course, need to place multiple orders to catalogs and websites pulled together and driven by Plant Lust.

All that is missing from my perfect garden up on the hillside has been recognized this winter and repeatedly discussed at length between the three of us. We will continue to make plans as I have promised to help them become real come this spring.

I would like to tell you more of our plans for reality, but Plant Lust is pushing hard to place another order. Now.


Gene Bush is a new blogger at Diggin' It. He's a nationally known garden writer, photographer, lecturer, and nursery owner. Gene gardens on a shaded hillside in southern Indiana. His website is

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