sometimes i feel as intensely as Thoreau did when i must "conduct business" and i think everyone could benefit greatly if more business men and women would "perambulate the bounds of Imagination’s provinces" more frequently...
imagination and dreams without question it is why i love the garden so much why i cannot leave it even when i am not near it. i am eagerly waiting for my bulb orders to arrive. yes, even as i revel each morning in the newest heavenly blues, cosmos, salvias, sunflowers, evening primrose even as i remove casualties to the compost pile and make notes to not repeat this year's blunders every evening my mind plays in next year's garden. our house is, by american standards old and i grow many heirloom plants one of my newest favorites is Tulipa acuminata
as my friend Scott Kunst writes in his catalog * "Unknown in the wild, it may well be the only survivor from the early 1700s when tulips like it ruled in the Ottoman Empire. Weird or priceless? You be the judge."
ancestors of tulips like this are the ones plant breeders used centuries ago to create the magnificent hybrids that made Dutchmen mad. a couple of years ago i planted 3 of these curious flowers from the past in my herb garden. the flaming red and yellow spidery petals looked fantastic above the thyme and oregano and i am adding 3 more this year.
i particularly enjoy imagining myself living then and seeing them growing wild on mountain slopes of The East.
*just in case you've never read my "about page" i am a freelance garden journalist. i discovered Scott and his catalog a few years ago thru a friend. Scott and Co at Old House Gardens-Heirloom Flower Bulbs are on a mission to preserve rare and endangered heirloom bulbs. so, if you have an interest, please look at their site. and please, when you buy rare plants, make sure they are "nursery propagated" not just "nursery grown" so as to not reward plant poachers, and to help preserve the wildlings that remain. okay i'm stepping down off my soapbox.
"I sat down in the middle of the garden, where snakes could scarcely approach unseen, and leaned by back against a warm yellow pumpkin. There were some ground- cherry bushes growing along the furrows, full of fruit. I turned back the papery triangular sheaths that protected the berries and ate a few. All about me giant grasshoppers, twice as big as any I had ever seen, were doing acrobatic feats among the dried vines. The gophers scurried up and down the ploughed ground. There in the sheltered draw-bottom the wind did not blow very hard, but I could hear it singing its humming tune up on the level, and I could see the tall grasses wave. The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep. Willa Cather, My Antonia
the house has been invaded for the past two weeks. big old house needed new windows. it's bad enough to have every room in the house torn apart and strange boys tramping in and out but the garden has been invaded as well ladders, sawhorses, vans more junk than i could ever have imagined. but that's not the hardest part it has been far too dry and the garden is struggling and so are so many of the trees that fill this landscape home of mine so i'm dreaming of escape... going back to cornwall til it is all over and beneficial rains return yes that would be nice yes the water really is that color
i stumbled across the following quotation while searching the internet for (of all things) hardware for the new windows currently being installed in the house:
"I don't think there is anything on earth more wonderful than those wistful incomplete friendships one makes now and then in an hour's talk [or even less]. You never see the people again, but the lingering sense of their prescence in the world is like the glow of an unseen city at night - makes you feel the teemingness of it all." - John Dos Passos
this happens to me frequently
in gardens and nurseries we a stranger and myself begin talking about a plant or a tree and we share a bit of our selves in the revelation of our tenderness for the ephemeral leaf or flower or the trunk that has withstood storms and all manner of harshness. we part knowing nothing else about each other but are enriched bouyed up.
i hurt the gentle soul of one of my dearest friends this past week by forgetting to temper my tendency to be very outspoken (she would probably say harsh) with my anger/frustrations that boil to the top in light of politics/government/failures of imagination and wisdom yes, on all sides i forgot momentarily the role of this precious friendship and my role in it to value and honor her tenderness as much as my own frustration and need to "vent"
i did not remember to as e.e.cummings urged be of love(a little) More careful Than of everything