“This book is for those who in treading the garden path have no thought of material gain; rather must they give, — from the pocket as they may, — from the brain much, — and from the heart all, — if they would drink in full measure this pure joy of living.” (The Garden, You, and I by Barbara (The Macmillan Company, 1906)
This is a most fascinating book. Barbara turns out to be Mabel Osgood Wright. She had already written many other nature-related books using her real name before she wrote this book, but for some reason, she thought this book and a couple of other gardening related books would sell better if people didn’t know she wrote them.
The welcome from the book makes me think of a literature class in high school. I can just imagine a teacher peering over her glasses looking at all of us and asking “What did Barbara mean by this welcome statement?”
But perhaps what the teacher should really ask is is, “What does “The Garden, You, and I” refer to?” By doing so, she could make sure everyone had at least read through page 21 where Barbara/Mabel writes that “the garden, you, and I” is the name she and her friend gave to a “horticulture society of only three members” that they had just formed. Barbara/Mabel was designated the recording secretary, meaning she would write the book with the same title.
That made me think of the Green Bandana Garden Club, and how I’ve left some loose ends regarding that. I think now it is time to wrap that up and reveal once and for all the true nature of the club, what it means to belong, and just how one becomes a member.
It might be best to start with a recap, going back to the first event, when I found a green bandana hanging from a tree in the garden. The next day, I wrote a letter to Hortense Hoelove to find out if she knew about this club.
Hortense wrote back, but provided just a tease of information, if anyone can even imagine someone doing that. I wrote her back and practically begged for more information on this Green Bandana Garden Club.
Hortense wrote back again and I responded. She told me to look in an old gardening book for more information! I had no idea which book to look in. Exasperated with Hortense, I decided to follow up with Dr. Hortfreud to find out if she knew more.
Dr. Hortfreud then wrote me back because she wasn’t quite sure what I expected from her.
It was all a bit of a mess, meaning I was making it up as I went along and didn’t know where to go with it. I felt like I was running around the garden, reading through old gardening books and not coming up with any additional information or ideas about the Green Bandana Garden Club.
That is, I didn’t have any additional information or ideas until I started to read “The Garden, You, and I”.
There are many of us who “give from our pockets as we may”, meaning we spend more than the average person on our gardens. “From the brain much” implies that we put a lot of thought into our gardens. “From the heart all” means that we are passionate about our plants and gardens, too. We go about our obsession, thinking perhaps we are the only one.
But we are not alone. We just don’t always know who else is in this society, this club of garden obsessions. That’s what the Green Bandana Garden Club is for, to tell us who is really in this horticultural society of “The Garden, You, and I”.
You join simply by acquiring a green bandana and carrying it with you. It really is that simple. Then others will see the green bandana that you have and know that you are one of those who “treading the garden path have no thought of material gain; rather must they give, — from the pocket as they may, — from the brain much, — and from the heart all, — if they would drink in full measure this pure joy of living.”