There is magic in creating something wonderful from nothing. A book comes from a blank piece of paper. A sculpture comes from a lump of clay. And a garden comes from a patch of dirt. When, as a child, I had to let go of my trampoline due to a crippling back condition, I decided to turn the space where it had sat into a secret garden.
I immersed myself in horticulture books, landscaping seminars, and volunteer projects at the Seattle Arboretum Foundation. Then, I patterned this little plot of ground after a poem I’d written as an escape from my childhood nightmare of scoliosis and all the painful treatments I endured to overcome it. The garden took years to create.
I called the poem Rainbow Ranch, and even included a section with flowers in arching rows signifying the seven colors of the rainbow.
In the center of the garden, I placed a child-sized bed made from second-hand pieces of rusted iron, and planted with flowers representing the dust ruffle, quilt, and pillow. In my imagination, this was the place where my dream of a better life occurred.
There was a gazebo for al fresco dining, and a walkway between it and a potting shed that was created by mixing childhood mementos and crushed up blue dishes to represent a stream.
When it was finished, my little garden won the Golden Scoop award at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
Sometimes in life, I have to remind myself of the nine-year-old girl who headed out to the library to get her first horticulture book after looking up the definition of the word, “horticulture” in the dictionary. I love taking on challenges, and I hope you all do too.
I was delighted to win an award for my garden, but as I look back on this experience, I realize that winning is not what is important. It’s that we pick ourselves up from setbacks, push ourselves out of our comfort zones, try, have fun, and learn.