Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not a Gardener

Although a large percentage of my very favorite people are avid gardeners or even farmers, I, alas, am not. This is the time of year when all my loved ones urge me to join in. The husband saves every cardboard coffee cup, collects seeds from neighbors & eventually begins to litter every windowsill in the house with cups of soil. Cookie sheets become plant watering trays. There is peat moss in the bedroom.

I grumble and retire to The Comfy Chair, where Vi
ta Sackville-West and Gertrude Jekyll join me for quiet afternoons of fireside gardening. The Book Lady may not like scrabbling about in the dirt, but she certainly has her priorities straight! For there is nothing more charming than a well-written gardening book. Not the large, flashy kind with glossy photos of mouth-watering flowers! No, the gardening book for me is small and chatty, as in this lovely excerpt:

At this time of year, or even earlier, a few pans of small, brightly colored flowers give vast pleasure. No need to be ambitious, for even half a dozen pans on the staging of a small greenhouse produce an
effect of clean brilliance...because each bloom is unsmirched by rain or soil-splash, unnibbled by slugs, and unpecked by birds...Ideally, the pans should be whitewashed, for no one can pretend that the red of a flowerpot is pleasing, or of an agreeable texture.
-Vita Sackville-West

A Joy of Gardening, 1958

Remember when people wrote such decided things?

You may not have my Sackville-Wests or my Gertrude Jekylls, for I will not sell them to you. However, Village Books just happens to have a sweet assortment of such books for your armchair delectation. He
re are some of them:

The Lazy Gardener's Book by William Morwood
For those who hate garden work but love to be surrounded by beautiful growing things - garden maintenance with maximum
efficiency and minimum effort.

Gardening on Mainstreet
by Buckner Hollingsworth, 1968
...Words, like flowers, are delightful. Like flowers they have color and texture. Like flowers they can evoke the atmosphere
of an earlier time. "Posy", for instance...To hear the word used entirely without affectation as a commonplace noun both entertained and surprised me.
The first time it happened was on a bitterly cold day in March.With my mind full of the gardening that I hoped to begin the following month, I went out into the hall to speak to our plumber...
We talked of the weather, but he di
d not share the usual pessimistic attitude of most Vermonters..."Five below at my house this morning," he said cheerfully, "but it's bound to break soon...It'll be good to see the posies again, wun't it," he added - and was on his way.

1001 Garden Questions Answered
by Alfred C. Hottes, 1926
...What shall I do in February?

In the Library or Living Room:

Read January Suggestions, they also hold g
ood now...
All ornamental trees can be pruned...Remember the familiar lines:
"poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree."

A Cook's Garden by Jan Mahnken, 1985
All you need is a kitchen and a garden...

A Journal in Thyme
by Eric Grissell, 1994
For nearly as long as gardens have existed there have als
o been garden writers and gardening readers. The role of the garden writer has always been to nag, while that of the gardening reader has always been to work...

NOT ME! I am the gardening reader who reads and puts OTHER PEOPLE to work. We like to call ourselves designers.

In any case, these lovely titles and more can be found used here at VB. As usual, they are crisp & clean and well-priced. Call us at 845-2133 or email if you'd like any of these.

Meanwhile, I'll whisper this to you. There is a horrid patch of ground between my friend Cindy's fiber studio & my dooryard. Something tells me it would make a

More on this as soon as I recover from the shock of the idea.

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