The Collaborative Garden:  Mother Nature’s Relationship Blueprint

Gardens are glorious. In the spring, when the flowers begin to emerge and greenery peeks from the trees, I get the sense that anything is possible. New blooms lead to gorgeous colors and scents that awaken Mother Nature all over again. This is my favorite season to be outdoors, toiling in the garden. I am always amazed at how wonderfully certain plants grow together and complement each other. One of my favorite plants in the world is English ivy. It is versatile, solid and thick, with dark green leaves. The vines grow wild and free, clinging to the nearest solid item in its presence and stretching out for miles. Clematis is another favorite, yet it has many of the opposite qualities of the sturdy ivy. Clematis is sweet and delicate with perfect flowers. It requires special care when first planted and along its way to maturity. When paired next to each other, these two make a perfect combination. The solid base of the dark ivy, with the thin tentacles and soft flowers trailing up on top of it, is a beautiful combination. While I do not claim to be a master gardener, I am enthusiastic and quite experienced with my plantings. When I first planted the ivy at the base of my backyard arbor, several years ago, I also planted a small clematis plant next to it - lavender with dark purple stripes jutting from the center. These two grew together in perfect harmony, swirling like a set of satin ribbons up the side of the arbor and draping over the top. Then, as the years passed, the combination did not seem to work as well. The ivy was so strong that it continued to cover the clematis vines. The clematis needed more sun and was unable to resist being covered by the ivy. It took several years but the time finally came when their lovely relationship deteriorated and the two could no longer live together. 

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Elizabeth Vaz