Monday, April 4, 2011

Totally nothing to do with horses, books, ponies or even chronicles

Daylilies, looking like the thugs they are

It was over 80 degrees today, and didn't get dark out till 7:30pm. A day to drive home from work with the windows open and Springsteen playing. And then start hauling out the gardening books.

Suppose a wicked uncle who wished to check your gardening zeal left you pots of money on condition you grew only one species of plant: what would you choose?
My Garden In Spring by E.A. Bowles (1914)


He chose the iris. While I admire the fleur de lis, particularly the little yellow ones that grow wild around here, I'd choose dahlias or zinnias (possibly peonies). I'm not the tastefully understated sort of gardener; I like flowers that meet you halfway and knock you over. At the moment, though, I mostly confine my gardening fervor to wildflowers spotted and photographed on walks. This allows the dog to get some exercise, and me to avoid that finance-shattering temptation, the nursery.



But I may buy some pansies. They have sweet faces, are fragrant, thrive in shade and have the good grace to die by mid-summer, just when you have completely gotten over the whole gardening mania for another year. And I've managed to beat back the English Ivy just enough to clear a small border where they'd look wonderful.

There is one link between horses, books and gardens - they're bankrupters, all of them. I find gardens the worst because I can, just about, manage to resist the temptation to purchase livestock, and books can be bought cheaply unless you're fussy about editions and conditions, which I am not, as a rule. But good, healthy plants never come cheap. And like horses, they have an uncanny ability to sicken, to get into accidents, and to languish in a semi-useless state of non-productivity for no apparent reason.

And next time, back to horse books with a review of a fairly new acquisition, another frail Whitman Book.

1 comment:

Christina Wilsdon said...

"Golden Prize"--ah ha! A look at that cover convinces me that the Revell model-toy company, instead of awarding me the palomino it promised in an essay contest back in the day, used it as the basis for a storybook ;-)

You are too right about the horses, books, and gardens. Good luck with the pansies--snapdragons and dianthus are my go-to annuals lately.