Thursday, August 23, 2012


This morning I am working on the gardening 2012 file. Changes will need to be made next year and so we need a record of things we know now but will have forgotten by 2013. Yes, the garden was lovely, but changes will need to be made. Sigh! Face it, Ihave a love/hate relationship with change. This garden is the tenth we’ve grown since moving here. You’d think we’d have it figured out by now. You’d think we’d have found the ultimate combination of beauty and fragrance, the perfect balance among herbs and flowers, a place for tomatoes where the slugs can’t get them. You’d think we’d get it right and keep it there. So why don’t we? Things happen. The elm that was huge when we arrived, grew bigger and a sunny spot got shady. Nature takes a stand. The long planting troughs rotted and had to be replaced. Only short planters were available. . Things grow differently in short planters. C.S. Lewis said: “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” There is, it seems, no point in hoping to settle on a garden. Gardens, like all living things, unfailingly resist all nudgings toward settledness. I suppose, if I am to be perfectly honest, the garden could be more stable then it is. I go to a greenhouse, thinking I’ll stick with trusted plants and then I am assailed by a temptation to try something new. And it doesn’t stop there. So many wonders grow in other people’s gardens. Each year we see a new flower somewhere, and somehow we find room for it. That is how we got the pots of ageratum. The ageratum plants should have been blue and fluffy. They should have been healthy. There was so much potential for them when they arrived. Why, we lament, did they die so young, leaving sorrowfully empty pots where beauty ought to have been? Gardens evolve. You can spend a whole winter planning them, and take infinite pains to carry out your intentions, but you never know how they will evolve, only how they did. That’s what makes them so frustrating, and so fascinating. Like I said, we’ll be changing a few things in 2013. Some of the changes will be improvements. At this point there is no way of telling which ones those will be. The gardening file is an attempt to learn from the past. This year, among other things, I write: don’t buy agaretum!

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