A Garden Valentine

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.

Peony 'America'
Peony ‘America’.


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.

Tomato 'Black Cherry'
Heirloom cherry tomato ‘Black Cherry’.


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.

Prairie Smoke
Prairie Smoke


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?

42 Comments on “A Garden Valentine

  1. Oh Jason, this is the sweetest valentine’s post i’ve read this year, so far! Your marriage and friendship is so enviable for many of us especially in your part of the world where separations are so fast to do! I guess your family should be awarded in one of the local family affairs, haha! Happy Gardening, and congratulations to a happy family.

    Re ur question about our lantana if native. It is not native here, but it has been with our country since the colonizers!

  2. Nice! I enjoyed this post. Especially the part about trust. Ha! I do have remembrances and birthday and anniversary gifts from the fishman in my garden, but usually he gives me chocolate or flowers on Valentine’s Day, which is great by me. 😉

  3. A unique way to celebrate valentines day, I love the red peony it is beautiful. I am glad I have the garden all to myself although hubby doesn’t like some of the things I plant, most of them he does like.

  4. He forgot to mention the Valentine I get every morning from spring through fall when I open the front door to get the newspaper, which is the first thing I do after stumbling down the stairs. I come face to face with a veritable wall of beautiful flowers greeting me each morning — and I do mean wall, the front bed is often five or six get high, with spikes up to ten feet. That is an excellent way to start a day, if I may say so.

    I suppose one part of my return Valentine is I never ask questions when box after box of new plants arrive (unless I can tell that it is scrubs). He could be spending money on cars or some other expensive hobby I would get no pleasure from.

    And I can fill a vase with flowers many months of the year just by walking out the door.

    I think I’ll keep him around.

  5. In that sense, a lot 🙂 — my hubby is not into gardening, but he painstakingly takes me around garden-centers, hauls all the heavy loads – soil, rock, hay, mulch – whatever, builds beds and fences and trailies for me.

  6. My valentine (sounds better than “boy friend” at our age) does the heavy lifting – bales of peat, bags of compost, holes of clay, etc. He literally makes my (yardening) dreams come true.

  7. I’d count the pair of trees he planted on our wedding anniversary. Trees, did I mention the trees? He loves trees, but so do I since I get to choose them, mostly.
    PS maybe add a link back to your blog on your profile, if you use your Blogger ID to comment. That was the same Jason on my new blog?

  8. Your plantings are so thoughtful, isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about 🙂 The shrubs are your Valentine gift to yourself.

  9. Funny post! Maybe the garden gnomes are planting the shrubs! I’ve got lots of Prairie Smoke planted! One of my faves! Looks so interesting all season long!

  10. There are, in fact, lots of valentines in my garden! My husband long ago established the tradition of giving me a living plant for Valentine’s Day. It’s a tradition that I wholeheartedly endorse! Love your valentines. I’m sure Judy does, too!

    • If we lived somewhere warmer we could actually plant on Valentine’s Day. Up here we can at least order the plant online, which is almost as good.

  11. AH Jason! This post is awesome! I really enjoyed it because it shows how much fun you both have with the garden! And how nice to plant things that she enjoys! My valentines in the garden mostly go to my kids! This weekend I am actually working on a little fairy house with my daughter for her little flower garden she will be tending this summer! All the best and have a wonderful weekend!!

  12. Hi Jason, What a sweetie you are! I am glad that my husband is not all that interested in gardening, so that I can pick out what to grow. If there are different ways to do anything, especially get from one place to another, we will naturally choose different ways. He does request plants from time to time, though, and I usually accommodate him.

    Thanks for stopping by my last post. The crocus was from last year at this time. I don’t mind waiting a bit, hoping that once it warms up, it will stay warmed up.

  13. There are advantages to having a spouse with no opinions re the garden. I was glad to see you put up a new post on your blog. I don’t look at Facebook all that much.

  14. My husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I prefer he surprise me with a gesture of love on a day I don’t expect it.A while back he fixed the broken wheels on my wheelbarrow as a surprise and I was thrilled. To me, that’s more significant than candy and red roses on Feb 14. My valentine to him comes in the form of cooking a lot of his favorite meals. However, I draw the line at liver and onions. No. Possible. Way. EVER!

    • No liver and onions?! I love liver and onions. Chicken livers, not calves liver. I suppose that means you also don’t make boiled tongue?

      • Boiled tongue?? Ugh! He likes liver in all forms. I refuse to cook it in all forms. That’s what restaurants are for. 🙂 I love that you planted lilacs by the windows for your wife. That’s where my lilacs are, too.

  15. Hi Jason, that’s a nice idea and I like the Prarie Smoke. I get frustrated that Valentine’s Day is in February because there’s very little in flower. This year, we’ve agreed to move it to mid-Summer and have told my other half to expect a vase of Delphinium spires from the garden.

  16. That is one of the most romantic blog posts I have ever read…truly wonderful.


  17. This is a charming post. Judy is clearly a lover of fragrance in the garden; how could anyone not fall in love with lilacs and peonies once you have been bewitched by their scent? Flowers to grow in the garden seem like a more fitting tribute to a long-term substantial love than cut flowers from the florist that will begin to fade in a couple of days.

  18. Yours is a true romantic garden! Mine also is very romantic. My husband knows me well. For Valentine’s he surprised me, not with a box of chocolates, but with twenty bales of pine straw!

  19. It’s very sweet that you’ve planted Valentines in your garden for Judy. My garden isn’t so sweet.

  20. How very sweet! No Valentine’s here but the small fountain garden off my screen porch was created in honor of a much loved dog that I lost suddenly and way too soon. On the first anniversary of his death over ten years ago I had a ton of granite block delivered and spent the day creating a walkway through the space. To this day, it remains one of my favorite garden areas.

  21. I just received a great garden valentine from my hubby. yard art! He doesn’t know much about plants but he understands my odd taste in art perfectly.

    • It’s always gratifying when your spouse understands what you like. The worst kind of presents are the ones that only the giver really wants.

  22. How totally adorable! This year I bought Adam some bird feeders and I think I bought him a big heart shaped bird food ‘thing’ last year. Other than that no, we do have a wedding rose though that was given to us by Adam’s gardening work friends.

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