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  • Shawn Hosford

My Garden Fairy

Iris and I met through a dear friend who enjoyed Iris’ gifted touch and intuitive sense in her garden. My friend’s garden was a well-kept, traditional English garden. Our garden is not. Our’s is more of a wild, abundantly inviting garden made up of a mix-match of gifted, purchased, and orphaned plants set below seven towering evergreen trees and many tree-sized rhododendrons. When we first moved in 27 years ago I was not a rhododendron fan. But, due to the size and age of the rhodies in our yard, I have grown to love them. 

Iris gardens mostly alone and works wonders wherever she lands. I say lands because Iris is truly a garden fairy. She floats from one place in need to another. Her fairy nature and ability to flit from one thing to the next allows her to keep a garden’s overview in mind while bringing it back to life or simply maintaining it’s beauty. 

When Iris first lit in our garden there had been much deferred maintenance due to lack of time and money. Regardless of the overgrowth, she was able to step in and set our wild garden back into its semblance of order. 

This last Saturday I gave myself the gift of time in our garden with Iris. Lately, the stress in our lives has begun to take a toll. Both Mark and I decided I needed an Iris day. It turned out to be the perfect gift. 

As we worked on repotting the indoor plants, getting the outdoor pots in order, mowing the lawn, and weed-whacking the dandelions I could feel a grounding and peacefulness return to my soul. At one point durng the day, I watched Iris walk down the driveway blowing debris as Moe walked behind her surveying the work. I reached for my phone, but the moment passed too quickly. No matter, I took a snapshot with my eyes and will cherish this sweet moment of Iris gardening with Moe our sweet lab —  a moment of well-rounded happiness. 

At the end of our five hours together I felt lighter, as did the house and garden. We worked both independently and together throughout the day. When together, we had large heavy heartfelt conversations. Our conversations would be interrupted by our chores and then pick up an hour or two later. I think the in-between time gave us both space to form more thoughts about the large topics we were pursuing.


It is such a gift to work side by side with someone you love and respect. As John Heywood said, “Many hands make light work.” In thinking about light work, it also seems the same light may be soul-filling when working in tandem with someone you cherish. 

As I sit in our sun-filled living room on this beautiful Sunday, I am thankful to people in the world who are like Iris— blessing gardens and enlivening surroundings wherever they go. 

Are there places and people who help to make your work light? Have you engaged in any deep conversations lately? Is there a place you go to center yourself or soothe your soul? When was the last time you walked barefoot in nature? Can you take a few minutes a day to simply sit and listen to the world around you?

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