Serendipity Gardens: Gardens provide space for sharing dreams, knowledge and precious time

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 3, 2019

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears biweekly. Email her at

For me, my gardens have always been a place to spend time dreaming about things, as were my mother’s when I was a child. The swing next to her perennial flower garden was where I would spend time dreaming about what I would become when I became an adult. Becoming a journalist was always at the top of my list, and although I never made it that far, a columnist wasn’t too far away from the dream.

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Now my dream includes finishing writing a gardening book that has been put on the shelf far too long. Perhaps no one will ever read it but me, but it is a goal I really want to accomplish in the next couple of years.

Carol Hegel Lang

Looking back through years of photographs of the gardens always gives me fond memories of the days I spent working developing these gardens from one small raised bed along the fence and a couple of containers to nearly a third of an acre filled with trees, shrubs and hundreds of flowers.

Of course I dream of my gardens being world-famous, filled with visitors every day, but then reality sets in and I know this is not ever going to happen. Through the years, we have hosted so many people during the summer months, and I have had the privilege of chatting with so many about the gardens. I have to admit I am filled with awe at all of the comments people have made.

From a very humble beginning as a novice gardener, I have increased my knowledge of gardening, and I love to have conversations with other gardeners about them to share this knowledge.

Over the years, I have spent time reading to our cat, Marley, Buddy, our Bearded Collie, and now Roosevelt, along with our granddaughter. Hopefully Carissa found time to dream about what she would become as an adult. What better place to spend time daydreaming than among the fragrance of blooms, the colorful flowers, and, of course, all of the wildlife that visit the gardens. A good book would come to life for me in the gardens as I read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden,” or perhaps some of my favorite poets, like Emily Dickinson, Longfellow, Frost and many others.

Daydreaming is wonderful and can transport you anyplace in the world, or you can be whoever you want. Quiet time spent reflecting on the past, present or future is even more exciting when being serenaded by the songs of the wrens.

Gardens are a wonderful place to have a conversation with God, and many a day I spend time praying while sitting on a bench enjoying the gardens. The gardens can be an intimate space to have a conversation with a dear friend — just the two of us spending time contemplating the world around us and nature. Being thankful for every day, our health, our family and friends where there is no hatred, poverty, neglect or anything that brings sorrow to my soul, but instead love, peace and joy — only the best of things in life.

As we age, we realize it is the simpler things in life that bring us the most happiness, and perhaps our dreams are very different from what they were when we were younger. Dreams are important because they can bring out something that is sad, depressing or hurtful and make us want to strive for a better world, and you don’t have to share that dream with anyone else. Dreams can bring happiness and joy to our lives that are filled with worry; we can dream of a better life and becoming something special, or important, or even just ordinary. Dreams are magic!

What better place is there than in a garden for a dream? If I had not dreamed about what my gardens could become, my life would not have been as fulfilling to me. My dreams came true — I am a writer!

“Gardens are enclosed areas in which plants and arts meet. They form cultures in an uncompromised sense of the word.” — Peter Sloterdijk