Poetry and Gardening

Musings from the days of a creative writer/gardener with a true appreciation for nature, meditation, and poetry.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Baskets and Hand-me-downs

This morning as I was remaking the baskets that hang on my front porch, I started thinking about the parts of my garden that came from someone else.  One of the things all gardeners know is that the beauty of a plentiful garden is that it brings new friends, and we also have the opportunity of sharing some of that bounty with others, which means we make even more new friends.  I remember my grandmother taking cuttings from her plants and rooting them, giving them to her sister-in-law, as well as to the women who lived in the houses nearby.  She would stand on the street in her shirtwaist dress, chatting with the women as she passed along her cuttings, and she would come inside afterward with stories of the other women's lives.  My grandfather would sit at the kitchen table and nod as he listened, not quite interested but listening nonetheless.

I don't have any pieces from my grandmother in my garden because I wasn't gardening when she passed away, but I do have memories of her anyway.  The gladioli that are sprouting in my side gardens are in memory of her.  Every time they bloom, I think of the tall, pastel-colored glads that lined her driveway, and I laugh a little because my mother used to call them funeral flowers.  Unlike my grandmother, who loved them, my mother despised them.

The roses I've grown for years are for my mother, who loved them even though she was painfully allergic to them.  One of my favorite bushes, the Tropical Sunset, was a gift from one of my best friends, Ellyn.  Though Ellyn is across the country in California, I share news of her rose bush every year, telling her when they are in bloom and sending photos of the most spectacular blossoms on the bush.

The peace/white roses and the red climber were gifts from my husband for Valentine's Day.  He had always given me beautiful bouquets of roses (earning him the nickname "The Rose Guy") when we were first dating, and at one point, I said that the bouquets were incredibly expensive but that the roses I could grow in the ground would give me a constant bouquet.  At that point, he stopped buying bouquets and started giving me bushes.  Okay by me!

The cannas that are beginning to multiply in my back garden came from a work friend who had way too many of them last year.  She shared a garbage bag full with me, and I spent a long weekend planting them throughout the back gardens.  I expect there will be more and more every year, and I'll think of her when they come into bloom.

I have done my fair share of sharing, and my friend Lynn told me just recently that she loved the irises I gave her last year.  They are blooming -- a rich purple -- across the street, and I love that they are there.

Now, the baskets . . . the pansies were drooping and though I kept some of them in there, I don't think they're long for this world.  I've repacked the baskets with trailing verbena (purple -- my fav color) and hope that they're going to thrive since we're heading into the hot and humid part of the year.  Summer in North Carolina!

Here's a poem about summer gardens:

Back Yard


by Carl Sandburg





Shine on, O moon of summer.

Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,

All silver under your rain to-night.



An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.

A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;

to-night they are throwing you kisses.



An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a

cherry tree in his back yard.



The clocks say I must go—I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking

white thoughts you rain down.



Shine on, O moon,

Shake out more and more silver changes.