OK, things are getting almost dire around here. Today I haven't gone outside at all, except for about a 20 minute walk around the yard, to feed the mosquitoes, and as a little side venture, imagine what attractive--or even competent
--landscaping would do for our yard.
Other than that, I sat around reading gardening books. Reading about gardening is wonderful, and so much less exerting than actually doing it. Today I was reading Peter Beale's Roses and Katharine White's Onward and Upward in the Garden. Both are absolutely heavenly, and complementary, too; Katharine's opening essay on how gardeners sit around during the cold months going through seed and plant catalogs, designing impossibly beautiful gardens in their minds will prompt me to put her book down (because it has no luscious illustrations) to reopen Beale's Roses and drool over the pictures and descriptions. When I've had enough of the beautiful pictures, I head back to White's book.
Both of these writers impress me, and not just for the way they write. They both make me feel like the Little Match Girl, except that instead of peeking into rich people's windows, I'm peeking through the garden gate. Of the two, White impresses me more. I know I wouldn't be able to grow 80 percent of the roses Beales discusses. He's writing for an English reader, and the English, though excellent in many ways, do not have the character, the moral uprightness (or perhaps it's the masochism) to garden in the harsh conditions of the New World. They went around the world conquering it and feeling smugly superior to the soft, lazy tropical types they conquered--but they wouldn't find them here. "Yankee ingenuity" was a phrase originally invented to describe those poor souls who came over to this part of the world to try to grow food in a landscape characterized by stony soil, harsh weather, and murderous mosquitoes. And that's why I am in awe of White. White gardened in Maine, after all, and I bow to her abilities; I lack the knowledge, experience, money, professional staff, and--mostly--the ability to get out of my chair and do it.
But I do enjoy conjuring up my gardens in the sky.
But enough about me. Let's deal with real world issues, like people who pay large sums of Blog Explosion credits to rent a space here. This week's victim is Fidget, the author of Finding Yourself Despite Yourself. She's just written a hilarious entry on why her children eat popsicles in the bathtub. And finger paint with shaving cream. Go check it out--the pictures are priceless.
And now I'll leave you with some luscious illustrations of views, houses, gardens, and even flowers that are not mine, except in my imagination: