At the start of the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden, the ghosts of Mary’s past sing a haunting song that goes, “Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” It’s a moody song that opens and sets the rest of the story in a house that is full of secrets and darkness.

Here in South Florida it’s quite the opposite. While parts of the country remain buried in snow and spring is but a longing still weeks away, our backyard is showing signs of life. Here and there flowers are wick, blooming, and plants are waking up, stretching their limbs toward the sun — its quite beautiful to behold. The bougainvillea shrubs my sister bought and forgot to take home with her are doing quite nicely under the sun. My mother’s oft neglected orchids are showing their pre-spring colors. And an assortment of wild flowers are popping here and there making me wonder, “Where did you come from?” It’s almost as if Dickon had worked his magic overnight, and left us a few suprises to enjoy.

La Muerta is still doing quite well and shows no sign of giving up. In fact, I’ve gone to HomeDepot to buy her a proper pot and orchid growing medium so she can stay alive for as long as she wants. While shopping and cruising the plant aisles, I decided to pick up some extra pots, dirt, and seeds to grow springtime sunflowers and summer marigolds — my new favorite flowers — so my ancestors and the mighty dead can find their way home. I’ve been watching Pixar’s Coco far too many times this week, and I’m taken with the flower’s vibrant color. Perhaps, once the seeds bloom, I’ll have more dreams about my grandparents and with the ancestors of men-who-love-men.

Regardless, every afternoon, as Lucky dog and I sit in the yard waiting for twilight to set in, the flowers, sounds, and scent of a well-tended backyard are a delight. Nothing beats sitting on the ground, connecting with the earth, and spending an hour with your best friend.

(You can click on the photos to see them in slideshow mode.)