This house is six years old. The garden is somewhat older than that.

I owned the property for about 10 years before I could actually afford to build anything on it, and during that lengthy interim I dragged in a number of trees and shrubs — the sort of thing known to gardeners as “woody plants” — and plopped them here and there. Some were promptly eaten by deer, others were flattened by the neighbor felling trees, but many hung on and a stalwart few even managed to thrive.

From the outset, then, this garden has had a wild and untended character. That fits my general attitude toward the natural world. And it’s definitely for the best this year. Between heart surgery in April and a broken foot two weeks ago, I’ve been pretty thoroughly sidelined from the ordinary business of garden maintenance. It’s a pleasure and a surprise, then, to hobble outside and discover that the plants (and insects and birds and earthworms) are carrying on just fine without me. A lesson there, no doubt.