I just came across a most delightful book – and I say that having only so far read to page 9. The title is “Garden People: Valerie Finniss and the Golden Age of Gardening”.
It’s full of gorgeous photography of flowers and people (and a few dogs). On page 9 I was halted in my reading by this:
“From her grandmother she received the double daisy ‘Rob Roy’ and the advice to ‘treat these plants reverently – they’re people’.”
Many of us feel in our heart the truth of that statement and we rejoice to know that we have found a fellow believer. Others might scoff. That’s OK; there’s room in this world for everyone.
But imagine for a moment plants as people. There are extraverts and introverts – the climbing rose that scrambles over your garage and your neighbour’s garage too, blooming so outrageously that you can’t bear to prune it. Then there’s the snowdrop that blooms under a bush each February and you have to lift the bush’s branches in order to see your tiny snowdrop.
I have lady’s mantle – a pushy woman if ever I saw one. I can’t resist petunias – silly teenagers who imagine that the world is always going to be like this and they will always be young and pretty. I am in awe of big dahlias – generals standing straight in a row with shiny medals. I respect the vegetables – workmen who earn their keep and don’t ever expect to be glamorous.
There are the celebrities – the magnolia that knocks your socks off with its pink-and-whiteness every spring. And that reminds me of the crocuses who display their private parts to the bees every February. How shocking is that?! They should take a lesson from the foxglove who is far more discreet.
Or maybe you look at actual people and see flowers. My maternal grandmother is a small, fragrant pink rose. My neighbour is a golden daffodil. My friend L is one of those poppies with a million pink frilly petals, Another friend is an expensive orchid and S. is solid reliable alyssum, whose fragrance lifts the whole garden.
Who are the people in your garden?