You can have year-round valentine gifts in the garden, you know. Take Judy and I. We’ve been married for almost 28 years. If you walk around the garden, you’ll see many valentines from me to her.
For example, there’s the Lilac on the east side of the house. There are many shrubs I prefer over a Lilac. She loves Lilacs, though, so I planted one, right by the window so she can smell it in bloom. If this doesn’t count as a valentine, then I don’t know what does.
Then there are the Peonies. I really don’t like Peonies. However, Judy yearned for Peonies, so I ordered five from Klehm Song Sparrow Farm. Now they take up scarce space in the back that could be filled by some really worthwhile perennials. But you cannot have love without sacrifice.
Oh, and don’t forget the cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes. I’m not really interested in vegetable gardening when there are several perfectly good Farmers’ Markets within a few miles of our house. But she really wanted some home-grown edibles, so I put in a small vegetable garden.
There’s also the Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum). For a long time, Judy would ask wistfully, “Why don’t we have any Prairie Smoke?” So I got some.
Now, you could point out that I chose the vast majority of our garden plants based on my own interests. This is true. Fortunately, Judy likes almost all of those plants as well, so that’s all right.
There are garden valentines from her to me, as well. For starters, she tolerates the enormous amounts of time I dedicate to the garden. Then there’s all the photographs I badger her to take, even when she has something better to do. Then there are the walks we take around the yard together, examining the progress of the various garden beds.
Not that we don’t have conflict. She has her irrational prejudice against shrubs. This forces me sometimes to sneak shrubs into the garden and plant them in secret. When she sees the new shrub and asks where it came from, I say: “Oh that? That’s been there for years.”
It bothers me that she doesn’t believe me, even for a moment. After all, a strong marriage is built on trust.
Are there any valentines in your garden?