Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Night time musing

I have done as much to the garden now as possible. I could find jobs but there is not much big stuff to do. If you look at the photo's before and now you can see the transformation. It amazes me sometimes too, like i think did i do all this?
Which of course i have done, hewed out all the borders, bought plants, tree's, and shrubs. Sweated on hot days, got cold on freezing ones, had my face whipped by the wind. Been stabbed and sliced by various plants. Cut my hands on sharp wire from the ties on the log rolls (see my left hand by bottom of thumb).
I have cut, chopped, snipped, weeded, arranged, and designed.And often dreamt at night or prior to falling asleep.
It looks so beautiful now that im lost for words.Sallyanne likes it though (Im always dragging her out to look at new flowers or plants, and going quick look at this!)
I got a book recently from a discount book place. The book i am reading is called The Garden An English love affair (one thousand years of gardening) by a lady called Jane Fearnley Whittingstall.
I will lift her first poem from the introduction:

"Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:_ "oh,how beautiful" and sitting in the shade
While better men then we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner-knives..."

Rudyard Kipling wrote that poem about an english garden. The strange behaviour of the English and their gardens, like me today de weeding the patio by the backdoor. Reclaiming it back from the weeds.
The book starts looking at Medieval gardens, what they grew, the purposes of them, and the times that shaped them. I read up to the Tudor period with king Henry VIII and knot gardens, the use of a red rose as a symbol of England. I never knew that on the back of a twenty pence piece is that Red rose and thorns under a crown.
The book goes through the development of gardens through one thousand years of English history, and how the plants we used were imported, and brought into general usage. The RHS plant listnow contains more than 50,000 types now. In medieval times that list was one page long!
I will write juicy tit bits when i read them. I know that gardening knowledge is passed on, written down, or orally from one generation to the next.I guess now we have the internet now but thats a mixture of the two mediums for transmitting ideas and knowledge.
All our plants, and especially the traditional ones have roots much further back in the past than we could imagine.
The many Blogs i read, are from all over the world. But in their disparate geographical location there is some shared passion connecting us all. From the UK to USA to Australia to New zealand to South Africa etc etc. We all share a love of nature, growing things, watching them develop, and flower. Celebrating our successes in words and pictures, and lamenting when things fail to develop or get eaten by some winged beastie.
That is common to all people with a connection to the land. In the past we were quite agrarian in our living. I guess we forget some of our past because of the vastness of time that seperates us from the medieval english and the move into industrialised cities.However when we buy houses we look for a garden as a buying point which adds lots to the house value.
What links us is Ivy , hawthorn, violets, cowslips, roses, carnations, lillies, violas,hollyhocks,etc. Flowers that were symbolic or prized for beauty and scent.Which they still are today.That list is a quick scanned one from flicking through first chapter.
I read about the impact the crusades had when west met east with the different gardens. We took back islamic ideas from the middle east about designing gardens to reflect ideas and faith. The monks already used gardens for reflective areas, and Kings,Queens, and nobles relaxed and were entertained in ornately designed gardens.
Fast forward a thousand years and i survey my own garden, with pride, and a feeling of warmth and calming just being stood in it. A thousand years, but the pride, passion, and hard work is common to us all from a thousand years ago to now.keep on growing world.

3 comments:

OldRoses said...

sounds like a great book! I'll have to see if I can get it here in the US.

snappy said...

Tell me what you are reading for garden inpiration and i will see if i can get it on amazon.co.uk

Claire Splan said...

What a great post. I really enjoy good gardening books as well, the literary stuff as well as the practical how-to guides. I haven't really gotten around to reading any of the older classics, but among the books I've enjoyed, one of my favorites was The 3,000-Mile Garden. PBS ran a series based on it (might have originally been a BBC series). Have you read that?