Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reflections from Christmas

Christmas time – resting time. With the rest of the year running at approximately 180 mph these days provide a much needed chance the rest. And a chance to read. As always I wanted books for Christmas, gardening books. And, apparently I've been good during the year because books I got. I have to admit that I make quite specific wishes for Christmas. I have been known to include the ISBN-number. But on the other hand how is the family supposed to know what books are of interest. I absolute love gardening books and especially gardening essays. The all time favorite is The Gardener’s Year by Karel Capek. It has everything a great gardening book should have - wisdom, experience, humor and words of comfort for those moments when the bugs seem to win the battle. The trend these last years has been that I have become less and less interested in the how-to books. Less interested in what we do to the garden and more interested in what it does to us.

Being a time for reflection as Christmas is I have been reflecting upon why I am so passionate about gardening and not about say, motorcycles or sports (ehh, yes…). I have heard lots of theories as to why we garden – both God and Darwin seem to have been involved in some of the more philosophical theories. My answer to the question is that I really don’t know but that I am happy to have an interest that is so rewarding. Maybe it is just a coincidence that it was gardening that got me and not something else.

Come to think about it, I believe I owe at least a part of my gardening interest to two men. One is my father – himself a passionate gardener and collector of rhododendrons – the other one is an unknown nurseryman. I might have been around four years old when my father took me to the local nursery to buy some plants, flowers, a shrub perhaps, I don’t know. What I do know is that we passed a rack of petunias. They were white, pink, blue. When we had finished our shopping the nurseryman looked at me and said: “I’ll give you something”. And then he reached for a pink petunia and said: “This is yours, Take care of it”. Oh, was I proud! I, Linn, a lady of four years was the owner of a plant. When we came home it was planted on a good and sunny spot in the garden where it would thrive and where it could be seen. Every day I went to it. Talked to it. Watered it. Deadheaded it. It was probably the most spoilt plant in the country. And it was a grateful one. It flowered and flowered and flowered all summer long. Even today, almost thirty years later, a smile come to my face when I think about it. My first very own plant.

If you want your children to enjoy gardening, don’t make them weed the vegetable garden or use them to fetch tools. That doesn’t spark any passion. Give them a plant that is their own. Help them to make it thrive. It might change their lives. (And yes, it is allowed to water the plant, weed around it and mulch it when the child is asleep to ensure the survival of it - just don't tell the child.)


Takoma Gardener said...

Linn, I just found this site and I seriously love it - your writing, and the experiences and feelings around gardening that I share.
So how about some photos of your garden??? I notice you're a photographer, so don't hold out on us. And where did you grow up? Yes, bloggers can be a nosy bunch, but welcome to our world. Susan

Nelumbo said...

Enjoyed your post!

My first plant was a dwarf hibiscus, and I did treasure it!

andrew said...


Hi, have just read your piece - "Capek" was the reference that produuced your name. I found his book in Prague 2 years ago - super book!

I'm at "A Blog Garden" and my next piece will be on "SEasons" with a quote from Capek. Meantine - as I think you like snowdrops - you might like to read "Light"