One of my favorite books as a child was "The Secret Garden," by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's the story of a young girl who is orphaned and sent to live with an elderly uncle in England. She spends most of her days alone and her main joy is in discovering an abandoned garden and bringing it back to life. She spots some tiny plants struggling up through the weeds and fallen leaves and clears the way for them to find the sun again so that they can bloom and grow.
I felt like that little girl today. This past January we moved into a home with a decent sized front lawn and a big back yard, and the only problem was that it apparently hasn't been tended to for several years. To be honest, it is a completely overgrown wilderness. Or it was. Until I started digging into it. I realized after looking around that someone had once lived here who had done a lot of gardening and planting. We found that the stick pile outside the back door was actually covering a raised garden bed, so last week hubby helped me clear that off, and I planted a vegetable garden. I then noticed that the area on the opposite side of our garage, facing our neighbor's house, was a huge weedy mess that I needed to clean up, but that it had peonies and hostas growing around it- it was another garden spot! I climbed in and began pulling down tree seedlings that were sprouting up in the middle of it. I rooted out grass and started getting out the weeds, and then I found under all that there was not just an area where something had been previously planted, but a full, bordered and arranged garden bed hidden under the grass and weeds. There were iris beginning to bloom, and under all the weeds I pulled away, I even found a fully grown, bright red strawberry! I showed our neighbor who told me that it had been at least four years since the strawberry planting woman had lived here. Imagine, that these untended little plants had struggled and grown all this time under there. As I pressed further back through the climbing and creeping vines, I found an old grapevine, all set to produce a big crop of grapes for this summer! Amazing. What a wonderful afternoon!