Now I have taken an interest in the garden I’m finding it hard to stop. You can step out to do one thing and end up 3 hours later covered in soil with little or no time to prepare for whatever else you have to do that day - but it is a good excuse to have dirt under your nails (or so I hope.) The main thing I have found is that it is so future based and so changeable. It’s something that you don’t have to wait until an appointed time to do, there’s always something to do, and if you’re physically weary there’s always something to read about, listen to or look at. Although, I think I have reached my limit in terms of quantity of plants for now (120 seedlings and counting..)
Gardening has opened up a whole new genre in terms of books. I began with Charlotte Mendelson’s Rhapsody in Green (you can read her New Yorker columns here) which has then led to plenty more: The Gardeners Year by Karel Capek, Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi, Elizabeth’s German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim, Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine S White, everything by Joy Larckom. After reading Mendelson, or perhaps during, I found myself addicted to buying seeds. They’re endlessly fascinating to look at, cheap and you get something out of it at the end, preferably something that can go into a salad. There’s a closer reading of Derek Jarman, Denise Riley and Emily Berry, always looking for hints and visual language.
There’s also art, there’s Giverny to visit, there’s Bonnard to take a closer look at. The photography of Howard Solley and Jo Metson Scott. There’s the Garden Museum, Gardens Illustrated, there’s MONTY DON. This is perhaps the biggest discovery, for any point of anxiety I have ‘Down To Earth’ on my phone.
Basically it’s never ending, and that is perfect.
(NB this is not my rose, I wish I had deadheaded it.)