On June 7, a slew of American Hosta Society Conventioneers will be strolling through our gardens — also more commonly referred to as “the backyard.”
Coming from all over the country, these hosta enthusiasts will be taking a break from working in their personal gardens to attend “layered garden” lectures, tour 13 gardens and have community with like-minded friends. As many in the Indianapolis Hosta Society exclaim: “Members join for the hostas and stay for the friends.”
As I continue to yank weeds so they won’t interfere with showcasing the perennials that are center stage in this production, I can’t help notice the “behind the scenes” crew that very few will notice.
Down the hill in the almost moss circle, there is a hall tree made from an old red door. Conventioneers will notice the hall tree door that has steps and ferns leading up to it, but they may not notice the sound of the creek cascading over a mound of rock and large roots — my 5-year-old triplet nieces and nephew played and diligently worked (of their own volition) for two hours last weekend with small hoes and rakes to “make the water run faster.” (Note to my David and Julie: sorry about the muddy shoes).
The 15-foot-tall, half-ton Mexican pebble stone water fountain feature always seems to attract attention, and we share that we purchased it from the Indianapolis Flower and Garden Show, and that it took four weeks to glue all the stones to the PVC pipe — but we haven’t shared that my brother Chris miraculously drove it home in his dump truck without a scratch and that the install team — he, my brother David and my husband — spent hours transporting it and setting it up.
Very few will notice the gray shale path on the back side of the creek and behind the tall hostas. The path my niece Raegan designed by finding shale in the big creek and placing them like a puzzle, pushing them into place in the mud.
In the very back of the garden is a fire pit to the north of a trio of chestnut trees. Only my dad, husband and I (and now you) know that on the inner circle of the ring of rocks lay two rocks from Grandpa Ralph Hommel’s farm with two disc marks across the top of the rocks. When I see the small boulders, I envision Grandpa feeling the vibration and hearing the scraping of the plow discs scraping the top of the rocks — and him stopping the tractor, jumping down and moving the boulders to the edge of the field.
Many people always comment on the gated archway leading down to the creek, but one of my favorite doors are the small wooden barn gates from my Grandpa’s barn — a century-old monument to hardworking Hommels. I often reminisce about the sound of the Hampshire hogs squealing and the dull thud of the metal feeder lid after a hog removed his snout. Years later, cousins run around the barn, doing handstands against it and asking about old tools that great grandpa would have been proud to show them, and the Hommel-Mangas garden is proud to have a piece of it.
You can dig up stories in your own backyard. What’s in your garden?