The May garden is so, so beautiful. Breath taking. Azaleas full, flowering trees coming and going, rhododendrons beginning, irises, spring flowers, wild flowers. Small, bright green leaves sprouting on the shade trees. Each day something new comes out to delight the eye.
Every year, about this time, I decide the garden is the best it’s ever been. When I look at the notes and records I’ve kept, I write that same thing almost every year. What is it about a garden that delights the eye and cheers the soul?
I think it is time. Garden Time is different from our internet/computer time. Garden Time is peaceful, quiet. Flowers open slowly. Some last only a day, others a few weeks. To permanently capture their beauty, one must have a picture or a photo.
Garden Time is always changing, fleeting. Just at a different pace from our every day modern time. Try to imagine a hundred years ago. Few cars. No airplanes. Travel was difficult. No TV. Gardens were a peaceful pastime.
Now, that peaceful pace is being rediscovered. There was a relaxation therapy class (sort of like today’s “mindfulness” or meditation) that recommended watching a blossom slowly float to the ground. Or a leaf. Better if the leaf is colored. (I tried it, and it is much pleasanter than counting one’s breath or repeating “ommnn”.)
Gardening is back in a big way. Even garden writers are abloom. One wrote (in the Wall Street Journal) that she planted 50 rose bushes and the 5 that were still alive the next year were beautiful and gave her great pleasure. She noted that gardening is constant chores, but most enjoyable.
Vegetable gardening is popular again too. There are all kinds of articles mostly about what tools to buy, and maintenance tips from people with little old farmers’ wisdom, and not even old wives tales.
And literally millions of web sites exist. But I don’t trust places that sell things, or are propaganda organizations. I checked the University of Ohio gardening site, which I used to like, and got 9 million hits. Not only is computer time different, so is computer information.
Sometimes I pose a gardening question on Google, and then add “from the USDA” (the United States Department of Agriculture). Otherwise the first hundred web sites are all commercial.
There are some commercial sources which have good info. One is Burpee.com. Another is Johnnyseeds.com. One of my favorite catalogues is Gardeners Supply Company: www.gardeners.com. However I must confess, I prefer their paper catalogue, and I even bought solar butterflies that light up at night.
So, if you want to know why May is so beautiful, and the garden is so enjoyable, and almost everyone wants to have a little flower, and maybe even grow a garden, it’s because of Garden Time. A welcome escape from the constant crush of cellphone, blog, computer, radio, TV, news and email. Garden Time is an escape.
Ruth S Foster is a landscape consultant. More gardening info can be found of her website: www.mothersgarden.net.