It feels like ages since I’ve been out in the garden. After that lovely false spring early in February, we’ve had wet, wet weather. The weeds are growing like, well, weeds, and my pots of last year’s annuals are leggy and definitely ready for composting. The roses are coming along — I’ve got buds galore — but it’ll be several weeks before they open. (Yes, this beautiful photo is a few years old.)
The sad thing is that even when it’s warm, gardening is one of those things that gets sacrificed on the altar of a busy life. But I think it’ll only get better. Matthew is now old enough to enjoy helping with little tasks like weeding and watering, and Luke is slowly getting to the stage where I can let him play in the garden without worrying that he’ll try to snack on ants. Hopefully this summer, I’ll be able to create my own little suburban Eden, a place where impatiens elbow each other happily in the beds and roses run riot against the fence. Few things make me happier than a summer’s day outside, enjoying the petals and colors that I planted. And the act of planting them — well, it’s therapy of the best kind. It’s praying with your hands, in the dirt, in the sunlight.
Lately I’ve been dipping back into the delicious writings of Beverly Nichols, an English garden writer of the last century. In his book Green Grows the City, published in 1939, he writes about creating a little bit of paradise in an old barren yard in a London suburb. And in the background of his narrative is the slow march towards war, a feeling of tension mounting throughout England. The last line of his book offers a poignant insight: “We both know, you and I, that if all men were gardeners, the world at last would be at peace.”
Amen to that.