Shards, Sweepings, Stealings, Sayings, Secrets

Month: September, 2012


“A garden may be a re-creation on earth of the mythical garden from which man came or an anticipation of an ideal other-world to which he may ultimately pass. The gardener looks back to Paradise, or looks forward to heaven.”

Miles and John Hadfield Gardens Of Delight (1964)

“He who plants a garden plants happiness.” Chinese proverb

Falling In Love With A Garden

“You turn and see, where the glade opens out . . . a grey stone wall. In front of the wall is colour — that is what you see, not flowers, not stems and leaves and petals, but simply a block of pure colour, the most heart-stopping, astonishing blue, the blue of a Mediterranean sky or the Aegean sea in late afternoon, the blue of lapis lazuli, blended with smoky violet. Irises, planted in a broad band along the wall, irises as you have never seen them. The sight arouses not just delight and admiration, it arouses a kind of greed within you. You want that colour. Your desire for it is passionate and it startles you; you could not have imagined that such a feeling could be stirred by flowers in a garden. But as you pull yourself away and walk bemusedly back . . . perhaps it dawns on you that you recognize your feelings — you know them well enough. Most people do.You have fallen in love, though not with a person, with a garden.

Susan Hill and Rory Stuart Reflections From A Garden (1995)

A Good Soil

Since we’re redesigning and replanting our whole garden at the moment, I thought it was a good time for some gardening quotations.

“A good soil, like good food, must not be either too fat, or heavy, or cold, or wet, or dry, or greasy, or hard, or gritty, or raw; it ought to be like bread, like gingerbread, like a cake, like leavened dough; it should crumble, but not break into lumps; under the spade it ought to crack, but not squelch; it must not make slabs, or blocks, or honeycombs, or dumplings; but when you turn it over with a full spade, it ought to breathe pleasure and fall into a fine and puffy tilth. That is a tasty and edible soil, cultured and noble, deep and moist, permeable, breathing and soft — in short, a good soil is like good people, and as is well-known there is nothing better in this vale of tears.”

Karel Čapek The Gardener’s Year (1929)

“All my hurts my garden spade can heal.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Musketaquid (1847)

On Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue.
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay —
Oh I loved too much and by such, by such, is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind, I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint, for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay —
When the angel woos the clay he’ll lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Patrick Kavanagh