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Monday, August 22, 2011

Garden Proverbs

 The courtyard in the shrubbery.
Plant a Garden

There I was, peeping around the Charity Shop - not looking for budget garden furniture, of course, because I have quite enough seats and benches, thank you very much. But there's always something for the shopping gardener to grab - like a little book of Garden Proverbs.

Ha! A tiny book with a collection of pithy sayings, proving that all things in gardening parallel all things in life. Let's start with the most obvious.
  • 'If you would be happy all your life - plant a garden.'
Oh yes - absolutely, definitely... But do more than just plant it. Tend it, feed and water it, change it from time to time, and watch for the changes. Oh - there's more - weed it, mulch it, rake the paths, pick things, prune things, possibly spray the roses...

And taking time out to smell those roses (or daisies) is obvious, too. It's really important to spend quality personal time in the garden relaxing and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells.

 The garden bench in the Pond Paddock.
Sitting in the Shade
Summer requires an awareness of the harmful effects of the sun - covering up, wearing a hat and sun-block, drinking lots of water, and so on. There's nothing better than finding a shady garden bench to read and enjoy a cup of refreshing tea.

So I'm understandably a little cross with Rudyard Kipling, who rather puts a dampener on all of that - and I don't mean summer rain!
  • 'Gardens are not made
    By sitting in the shade.'
Dog-owners are said to look like their dogs (and vice versa). It's also true of gardeners. So if you're a neat and tidy person, then your garden will be well-groomed. And it's the same if you're random and messy. Oops. Weedy? Now I'm not so sure about that one...
  • 'As is the gardener
    Such is the garden.'
Everyone knows about reaping what they sow - adding horse manure which is known to be full of weed seeds, planting anything with the words 'excellent ground cover' on the label... But how's this for scary, serious advice?

 Ha! Every rose has its thorns....
Pluck Not...
  • 'Pluck not where you never planted.'
Aargh! Something to definitely remember next time you're wandering around an over-priced garden nursery with plastic bags in your coat pockets. Or you spy some beautiful roses over someone's fence and - well, really, no-one won't notice if you snap one or two off to take home...
Finally here's a saying which will appeal. However, it does not imply you should rush out and employ a garden designer, or find a book on the principles of Feng Shui. Spur-of-the-moment gardeners shouldn't feel guilty and immediately start thinking deep and meaningful thoughts about box hedges or potagers.
  • 'The garden must be prepared in the soul first or else it will not flourish.'
Right. I'm off to write a spiritual list...

Thanks To...

"Garden Proverbs', selected and edited by Terry Berger, published by Running Press. This is a cute little book, full of wise words and fun phrases, with some delightful puzzles thrown in. For example, how would you take the following piece of advice?

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