How Much is Enough?


We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is  enough        ~ Wendell Ber

In recent years, I enjoyed forcing Paperwhite narcissus in the period after Thanksgiving and before Christmas – the flowering of Advent, if you will.  I never planted just one container, pushing the ugly, papery bulbs into pebbles and keeping them in just the right temperature and light until strong white roots appeared.   It became my habit to prepare at least half a dozen bowls of them to scatter around and share with family and friends.  This year, whether by blatant omission or intentional effort to simplify, I  didn’t buy any Paperwhite bulbs, although I have delighted in watching the green spears poke up and begin to bloom in the past.

This morning,  celebrating a day of sunshine after some long dreary days with pewter skies and everything dripping with rain, I walked around the garden thinking to plan what needed to be dug up, pruned, and cleaned up in the next weeks.  I began to see spots of color where the roses had responded to the rain, little things here and there that survived the frost, a single snapdragon, berries on the holly and hawthorne, and almost buried in wet leaves, one single stem of Narcissus.  It was as if I were being told “You didn’t have to do it, I took care of it for you.”  And one was enough.