Thursday, April 15, 2010

15 April 1956 “Out in the Garden”

gardenwomen Sorry I have been wretchedly lax of late. I have been, as the title says, out in the garden. I have felt the call of the increasing warmth and that New England rush one gets after the long cold winter spread out in shortened daylight and waiting. Once that touch of Spring hits us, it is all we can do to stay still. For, particularly where I live, Spring is often very short and Summer will soon be upon us. There is soil to be turned, fences to be erected, plans carried out, seedlings nurtured. So, my excuse for less time here is more time in the yard.

I often wondered what it would be to garden in a place like California where it is warm the year round and one could, presumably, grow things all the time. The anxious rush of spring, the distant dreaming and planning of winter, the sadness of August tinged with the flutter of Autumns coming coolness. How would it be? How would I be? Would I be less anxious come Spring? Would I consider it Spring? If I could grow tomatoes the year round, how would that affect me. I suppose it could make one more realistically closer to self sustenance, but how would it make me feel overall?

There is a quality to the life here, in New England, that has its poignancy in the seasons. Do I appreciate Spring and Summer more because of Fall and Winter? Would that early bird song, or the first moment I track the sun across the wooden floor now to the piano, making me realize the Earth’s tilt and the coming Spring, feel as important? Would I be more at ease and enjoy the Garden more if it were there to be all the time, or does it being blanketed and like an austere sculpture garden in winter make it more a blessed thing come high Summer? I honestly don’t know.

I love gardening. I love the act of planting seed and watching them grow to a food on my plate or flowers in my home. I love the soil, the touch and smell of it. I love the scratch of the chicken and the scratch of the chicken wire, as we struggle to keep out the rabbit or deer. So, were I to have this year round how would it be?

Since I haven’t any plans to move to a place such as California or Florida, I suppose I won’t know. I was thinking the other day, if I had endless wealth, where would I choose to live? I immediately pictured a lovely old estate in Oxfordshire England. And, what would I love there besides the wonderful architecture? The Gardens. And again, there are the seasons. So, perhaps they are such a part of me that to take myself out of them would make me feel odd. As if I was always forgetting something; wandering about wondering at all this Summer not quite sure why and wondering of winter as if I had worried I left the stove on but couldn’t quite recall.

So, I suppose I have no answer really. I imagine those who have grown up in a year round warm climate would be as curious about the seasons and hate and loathe the cold days of winter. I think, having the advantage of ‘being at home’ makes a difference. To me, a snow storm is a marvel of fireside reading and coaxing the dogs to sit at my feet to share their warmth. The cool spiced air of fall only adds to the smell of the baking apples or the pungency of the pumpkin.

I do have the seasons and it is Spring, so I am out and taking advantage of every moment. Yet, I see we are to come upon three days of rain starting tomorrow, if the weather man can be trusted (nefarious things, weather men)and so then, I shall return to you all, tail between the legs, begging your pardons and wondering why you are not anxious to read my silly thoughts on scrubbing a floor or rather or not a petticoat can take the place of prozac. Yet, I shall return then, with a more informative post, but until then, I beg your leave, for the garden does await. The birds do sing, the sun has traced its path from the floor to the piano and my hands are aching for the soil. Until our rainy day, then.


  1. I just left a comment on your last post and on chance checked to see if you had written anything new.

    This was a beautiful thoughtful post.

    I will tell you that after living in California most of my life and then VA and now here in Ohio, I really do appreciate the seasons more on this side of the country. I've written about this time and again on my blog, but I will say here that when you live in a place such as California, you don't appreciate it. The weather is ALWAYS warm. I suppose if you moved there from somewhere else, you might, but having been born there it's just a blur of one day after the next.

    Yes, it's truly much better here.

    Have fun out in the garden my friend!


  2. Nice post! I love gardening! I find it fulfilling & relaxing.

  3. I could not live without seasons. I love every season, although I think Danish Winter is too long - but that makes me love Spring even more.

    Have fun in your garden, we'll look forward to reading about your adventures out there. :)

  4. I love your post, it made me so very homesick for Ma, and the Cape, in particular!

    I DO live in CA, but in a region with precious little rainfall, or shade, so growing things is quite a challenge, not to mention that it all dies when we get "ashfall" from wild fires!

    I'll take the short, but oh so sweet, springs of New England! :)

  5. Well, it seems so far even those in CA seem to be partial to seasons. I just got back from the post and downtown and I love our old New England town in Spring. Everyone is out and 'getting the beds ready'. Somehow the plain stark weathered shingles and severe lines of white clapboard and old fence mixed with the bare trees, the smell of the sea, it is all so full of promise!
    Su-you are probably familiar with Sandwich, then, and you know how 'idealic' it can be. Many movies that portray old New England always looks very Sandwich to me.

  6. Daffodils signal spring to me here in Missouri. All sunshine-y and optimistic.

    When you mentioned England, my mind jumped to Ireland. I had neighbors from Ireland and they referred to the back yard as the garden.

    --Where are the kids? Oh, they are in the garden.--

    I thought that was so charming.


  7. 50S gal -
    Yes I'm VERY familair with Sandwich, I have some family there, as well as a few friends. It's definitely "old Cape Cod", and beautiful year round!

  8. Anon-I am not sure why we American's say Yard and Garden as separate entities, I knew that the British call it the garden as well. It is also funny to our ears to hear them say 'I am going to the toilet' which of course means to us the bowl in the 'bathroom/powder room'. Or when we say we are wearing pants they must snigger thinking of our underpants. We are two countries separated by the same language.
    Su-wonderful. Do you come 'home' often?

  9. I'm sorry to post such a random comment, but I thought that you'd like this picture.

    Could you let me know if you like it?

    Great blog, I've been a reader for a while now.

  10. 50sgal,

    I too have wished for longer growing seasons. DH once lived in Arizona and said that they had two there.

  11. Hello,

    Your post made me smile, not that there’s anything laughable about what you said, but it made me feel so silly... I thought that I was the only one making my hands dirt on hard labour, that it was not “lady like” to handle a hammer and a drill... Sometimes, I just don’t think further than my nose (it’s a French expression I literally translated) I’m so used by the image of the woman generally carried by the media, that I thought I was an exception, when in fact it’s the image of the “perfect” wife that’s an exception.

    Last year I made a rose arch in my garden with ... hum... I don’t know exactly how you call those logs they use for the railway ... to grow a climbing plum rose variety in one year it became a huge rose and the arch is already looking beautiful. (Sorry I don’t know the name of the variety; my father took a cut of a rose from an old lady’s garden and putted it in soil... and it grew quite easily).
    You can also crystallize (again not sure if it’s the right word) rose petals in sugar ... it gives you tasty and beautiful candy, and I also use them to decorate cakes.

    Here’s the recipe I use :

    Ingredients :
    1 very perfumed rose
    2 egg whites
    Crystallized sugar

    Stir slightly the two egg whites, to liquefy them. Dip the rose petals first in the egg white and then in the sugar (not to much sugar, a thin and regular layer, you still have to see the colour of the rose petal trough the sugar) . Let dry a few hours on baking paper. (As I don’t use baking paper, I let them dry on big leafs from the garden... as a rhubarb leaf)

    About the color of the fence I would choose a light grey tone, white is to maculate to me.

    Wow, sorry again, I don’t write often but when I start I can’t stop ... maybe I should start a blog, but I’m afraid that I won’t have the time to be constant enough to be a blogger.

    Have a nice day!


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