A garden is more than plants and flowers. A garden is the story of a gardener.
Each season is a new chapter. Each plant and flower adds a sentence or two.
Some gardens are made up of many stories, when they are tended by gardeners who have come and gone, each adding their chapters to a long tale.
Sometimes, the story of a garden is a mystery. What was the gardener thinking? Where did she get that tree? What is that flower she planted there, that no one seems to know the name of?
Other stories become long odysseys, when gardeners stay for years in the same garden.
All the garden stories include comedy and tragedy, drama and suspense. They offer unforeseen turns of events. They cover life and death. They include interesting characters who come and go, each leaving their mark on the garden.
But no matter what else is in the story, the story of a garden almost always includes love and hope and a belief that by planting a garden, somehow the gardener has made the world a little better place.
If someone handed me a plant list and showed me a garden, I might remember the plants, but would I remember the garden?
Tell me the story of the gardener who tended the garden, and I’m sure I’ll remember the garden as a place where a gardener planted their hopes and dreams, and maybe watered it once or twice with their sweat and tears.
I’ll enjoy the garden much more, if I hear the story of the gardener, because a garden truly is the story of a gardener.
Dear Carol, how true is your story. I feel the same. Groetjes from Holland,
Lovely, Carol. I find my garden is where I go to work, to play, solve problems, vent frustrations, mourn, celebrate, get away from the world.. etc etc etc. – Penny
Lisa at Greenbow says
Isn't this the truth. I have toured a garden or two when the gardener was not available. I each time I wanted to go back to meet the gardener because something was missing…the story, the gardener.
Marian S says
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are." Alfred Austin, England's Poet Laureate 1896-1913
While visiting gardens in England, we all noticed the difference between visiting a garden where the gardener was long gone and those gardens where the gardener was present. I learned that without the gardener to tell us her story, the spirit of the garden seemed gone too. BUT, knowing the story of Vita Sackville West and her husband, Harold, for instance, improved the visit to Sissinghurst.Thank goodness for books to read that can still tell us a story. I love your post today, written carefully, and about story…music to a writers heart. Thank you!
I agree. My garden is a place where I can think and relax.
My 35 year old garden is still seen through the fantasies I hold every time I add a new plant. In town our most famous gardener died, but her garden helper stayed on to work with the new gardener who wanted to maintain the garden as it was. Impossible of course. A new aesthetic took hold – as it must – and should.
An inspired post. You always make me smile.