|'The Gardener', 1885--Camille Pissarro|
As author and master gardener Vita Sackville West wrote, "flowers intoxicate me"; flowers really do, like Vita, intoxicate me. I fell in love with flowers, and thereby gardening, at a very young age and all because of my Grandpa. He was an intrepid gardener in northern Michigan, in the upper peninsula where the joke is they have nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding. But that never interfered with Grandpa's flowers. While the sun shone and the grass grew, he gardened.
|Grandpa's house on Arch St, Marquette, Michigan.|
Grandpa lived in a sweet, little house built during the American Civil War. It was always painted with bright white paint and deep green trim, and was surrounded by a white picket fence--the stuff of story books. There was a screen door that had the perfect 'slam' as we ran outside, a front porch with a swing, and window boxes in all the windows filled with red geraniums. This is how it looks today, but in the 1960's the lawn was perfect with a little rock path that led to the back, there weren't any trees overshadowing it, and the house shone like a little beacon on Arch Street in Marquette, Michigan.
|My little green and white healing cottage|
all dressed up for Christmas, 1997.
head in sadness; instead keep your
head up high and gaze into
heaven for that is where your
broken heart has been sent to heal.
I moved to England and discovered that even though the sun doesn't always shine, the grass is always green year-round--which means England was made for growing things. In fact you could say England was made for growing flowers. There isn't a time of year that I can't grow them. This was my last rose of the year, which bloomed last Halloween.
Even in winter, when the wind blows cold by the end of November and it's dark by 4pm, bright red cyclamin fill the bicycle basket and the window boxes in the front of our house. They're joined by winter pansies, ivy, and pretty little red-berried plants. A bright spot on winter-darkened Holywell Street.
one-two punch and bright yellow
narcissus greet our guests at the front door.
spent at local garden centres.
|The Burford Garden Company, Burford, Oxfordshire|
tulips in the window boxes......
the book of Genesis.
Forget me nots bloom in my very
favourite colour and gather around
St. Francis from April until July.
In May the garden lawn is covered in daisies.
I am not a lover of lawns. Rather would
I see daisies in their thousands, ground
ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated
plantain with tall stems, and dandelions
with splendid flowers and fairy down,
than the too-well-tended lawn.
The Book of a Naturalist, 1919
|Wee puppy Jack experiencing his first spring.|
with that roses and lavender.
|My favourite rose, a David Austin 'Brother Cadfael' English rose.|
|The lavender and the birdbath are a haven for bees.|
|Miss Havisham and Lady Catherine de Bourgh|
|Garden centre essentials--flowers, |
antiques, and a bale of straw for
the chickens--all any girl needs really.
All the uglinesses of the world can best
be forgotten in the beauty of nature!
~Mehmet Murat ildan
And I love my Grandpa for teaching me all these things, for letting me follow him around as he pottered in his own Michigan 'yard'. Grandpa taught me to appreciate a geranium as much as a rose and England has taught me how to revel in and see the beauty in every season--a spring daffodil, summer hollyhocks, an autumn leaf, and a winter pansy. The gift of being able to create beauty wherever I go--just with a little dirt, a few seeds or a tiny seedling, and some sunlight--there's no better gift in life to be given than that.
I am going to make everything around
me beautiful - that will be my life.
~Elsie De Wolfe