Can I be very honest for a moment? I treat my garden like I do my marriage – some days I am totally in love with it, and spend hours lovingly cultivating, pruning and weeding, taking joy in the blooms that flourish all around me. Other times there are periods of drought, when the soil becomes hard and uncooperative, and the plants become stumped and withered and I cannot bear to look at them – those are the times when I just do the basics to keep them from dying. Get it?

Well, if you are anything like this moody gardener (ahem…and wife), I am going to give you a secret that will keep your garden looking great, whatever your mood - CREEPERS! Yes, you read correctly…..those plants that climb and crawl and hang anywhere you put them. Some people may even call them weeds. I plant them everywhere – in pots, in logs, at entryways, between stepping stones, along walkways. The secret to creepers is that they are so used to being considered weeds that they do not balk at lack of rain and lack of plowing. They just grow, running along the surface of the soil with their different coloured leaves and their different textures. They add variety and lushness to my garden, even at the times when I am neglectful. The most amazing thing is that they actually protect the soil beneath. They keep it soft, shielding it from pelting rain and erosion, and they keep it moist, shielding it from the heat.

How do these creepers relate to marriage, you ask? Well, a looong time ago, after being married for about 23 days, I realized that this man in my bathroom and bed and kitchen and car and ….EVERYWHERE was here to stay! And I am positive the poor soul looked at me and thought the same thing. We knew it was not going to be an easy road. That was the point when I decided that I would never forget the things that allowed us to fall in love. Those little things, no matter how small and trivial, would be the creepers that we planted in the soil of our marriage – sharing meals together, playing games (even last lick), drinking wine together, laughing like idiots are the silliest things, family trips with our children, good friends who shared the same values of family. These creepers have protected the soil of our marriage when we as individuals neglected it. They have kept it soft and pliable, and they have held on to moisture in the times of severe drought.

Whatever my mood, my garden is my sanctuary – the place I go to for renewal and comfort when the world gets a little rough. Thank God for the creepers – I am now on the threshold of 25 years as a very moody gardener.