On hostas and perennial friendship

I found my friend Carol in my backyard Saturday morning, cheerfully yanking weeds and making plans for a giant hosta that has never been anything but terrifying to me.

“We can split it, and plant hosta along the side of your house,” she said.

I explained that I’ve always had a Little Shop of Horrors fear of that hosta, which had grown so big it covered the entire walkway behind our house.

“It looks scary to me and I think something might be living under it,” I said.

Carol, an excellent gardener, assured me I had nothing to fear and we spent the next four hours digging weeds, splitting perennials, transplanting lilies and turning my overgrown weed farm into a respectable patio.

I worked up a sweat because it was my yard and I should have been doing this sort of thing all along. Carol worked up a sweat because she’s just about the most neighborly person you’ll ever meet.

The whole thing seemed miraculous to me, but Carol does it all the time. She splits and shares her plants so generously most of the houses in our neighborhood have a least one plant that started in her yard.

I think she’s grown herself a lovely legacy of lilies, roses, and buttercups, literal forget-me-nots that she’s coaxed to life and shared.

Midway through our muddy adventure, we made our way down to Carol’s house and I took a moment to breathe in the tranquility she’s grown. A mother robin tended to her babies in a nest about the wind chimes under Carol’s porch. A ladder of roses climb up a wooden container on one side of the yard, and a lively vegetable garden (with marigolds to keep out the bunnies) grows on the other.

Raised beds of more flowers than I can name offer color, light and good cheer. (Carol told me the names of all of them, but I am garden-challenged and I wasn’t taking notes). I do know that she has a container garden on her balcony and a jasmine plant next to her chair.

A lovely memory garden in her front yard pays tribute to Carol’s mother and other friends and family.

Two days after our garden adventure, Carol texted me.

“Remember to water your plants tonight.”

It was the least I could do.

We’re going to enjoy our spruced up little garden this summer, and every year after. And when those forget-me-nots pop their little heads out of the ground every spring, I’m going to thank my friend Carol and I’ll forget her kindness not.


Carol and I have been friends since grade school. Sometimes, the best thing about sweaty Saturday afternoons are the memories they cultivate and the laughter they inspire.
A before shot of our overgrown backyard. Note the giant scary hosta in the background.
Here’s the after. Much more respectable, right? Don’t ask me to name them, but I intend to keep them alive.
Carol built these raised beds in her backyard and filled them with beautiful plants she grows and shares.
I think just like the look on this frog’s face in this raised bed at Carol’s house. She is always shifting the plants around and offering neighbors cuttings.
Carol’s memory garden, which sits in the west corner of her front yard.
We filled the back of Carol’s truck with all kinds of plants to jazz up my backyard. Bit by bit, row by row, Carol worked to make my garden grow. I honestly found the whole afternoon fascinating.



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