Tuesday, September 8, 2015
I am missing the garden something awful! For weeks now, it has been necessary for me to be here in the city, without a break, and even though I am blessed to live on a park and have spectacular river views, I miss being in the garden that I have helped to create. Just before coming into town, I was working on a blog entry that was to have been all about the importance of “ditzing about” in the garden, with no agenda other than to absorb its atmosphere. This was motivated by a comment I received from another gardener in reaction to a photograph I posted of tea being served in the garden. As a gardener, in high season, she asked “How can you find time for tea?” And in response, I thought “Now, is when it is needed most. One must make time for tea, and to enjoy the garden, not just labor away in it.” It is O.K. to put down one’s trowel and watch a bee scour the flowers for pollen. That said, I miss the gardens “life-affirming green-ness.” It is the welcoming interface between us and the Natural world. I miss its colors, and sounds and the wildlife that it attracts. The city is such a hard, paved,
Don’t get me wrong. I love the city. The talents and skills that it attracts make for a dynamic environment where extraordinary things become possible. It is a privilege to have access to the intellectual accomplishments on display here, say on the 21st floor of any given building in midtown, come rain or shine. Without leaving the neighborhood, I continue to make fresh discoveries about buildings that I have looked at for years. And, there is a lot of Nature, right under our urban noses, when we take the time to sniff it out. For some things, you don’t want to be anywhere else.
Still, I am missing the garden. I miss its surprises. I miss separating stalks of Echinacia to discover that a Delphinium is asserting itself among them. I miss the feel, in my nitrile-gloved hand, of a weed relinquishing its roots’ grip on the soil. I miss having the leaves of the Collard Greens brush up against my pants legs when I am wading through the potager. I certainly miss eating and tasting the produce from the garden. What a far away dream it is here, to think of a freshly dug carrot, washed clean, its creamy crispness giving way to my bite! I miss being “in” Nature, not just looking out “at” it.
City life is all about collaboration and scheduling. Once you have managed to arrange to see – or be seen – by a highly skilled urban professional, you don’t want to miss the appointment. This alone usually requires several weeks. Then, when you have devised a course of action with said professional, there is nothing to do but see it through. So, if that means sitting tight in the city, that is what you do. Of course, there is a lot to do in the city. There are concerts and performances for every taste. All of the movies are playing. There are even bookstores, that endangered species. The museums are the best. Just taking a walk down Broadway can inform one’s view of the current world order.
All I can do is think of the garden that awaits me. That there will be tons of weeds to extract, goes without saying. Meanwhile, everything needs to be watered: The North and South borders of mixed perennials and annuals, The potted Farfugium, and Lemon tree. The“Deborah Gregory Memorial” Lespedeza and our Leonotus Leonurus, all of them need a good soaking. Likewise, everything in the potager. Lets not forget the strategically placed Pink Crepe Myrtle that has just been introduced to the garden. We hope that it will provide additional screening between us and our neighbors to the North. Then, what are the vines doing? Is the Thumbergia continuing to climb up the leg of the swing? I guess the date palm, grown from seed, is surviving the sunny dry weather safely. I hope that I haven’t lost anything.
The city is about rapid, if not instant gratification. The garden is about patience and imperceptible progress. Evolution. These days, as I wait to cross the Hudson, I am challenged to summon patience, in an environment that is celebrated for only having 45 seconds per minute. I am missing the garden something awful!
All images and text copyright Everett H. Scott. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be copied reproduced or used in any way without express written permission from the author.