Thursday, January 27, 2011

January Dreaming

      It takes me a good few weeks to recover from the holidays and set my sights on spring.  Fortunately for the fatigued, winter gardening exists only in the imagination.  All I can do now is dream, wait for the delivery of new books and the arrival of seed catalogs.  These form the backbone that keeps the spine of the gardener upright during the dreary winter months.  That, and the traditional winter fantasies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reading Through the Winter, II

      Passionate gardeners reveal themselves in their books.  All their  predilections, biases, affectations, affections and unkindness are out there in print for everyone to see.  Their likes and dislikes can be observed to inform their designs, selections of plants and, sometimes, their view of the role of landscape in society.  Even if not forthrightly declared, you can intuit it from the writer’s long derogatory digression on a garden practice it never occurred to you to question.    

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reading Through the Winter, I

    The only items that carry gardeners through the long, dreary months are garden books and catalogs.  Books can be roughly categorized by two kinds of authors: the living and the dead.  I’ll start with the latter.

My garden life has been shaped by long-dead gardeners and their writings.  I admit to having had no interest in gardening until I had a garden of my own.  It came with a house of course, and a small half-moon concrete patio around which was set a narrow band of soil.  Our first summer on Long Island we planted petunias, and that was it.  Beyond the concrete patio was a generous expanse of sloping lawn, crowned by a monumental copper beech tree, one of the oldest in our area.  It was the singular beauty of that tree that started me down the garden path.   

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Opening Thoughts

The Sunday Gardener is written for totally city-bound gardeners, as well as those able to get away for only a day or two at a time. It will show the reader that a good garden can be made anywhere.  In the city there are front and back yards, rooftops, window boxes, and containers set on nothing more than concrete passageways.  In the country garden the working palette is broader, and the light and air more abundant.