I indicated to Carol that I found this book to be a snoozer. And it was - in a good way. The flowery prose of the late 19th century inevitably makes our 21st century text-messaging, keyword-searching brains rebel. But once into the flow of the tale of a summer in Charles’ garden, the rhythm was easy to pick up, the long (and longer) paragraphs easier for the eye to scan. I felt right at home in that garden, and the comfortable, inexorable cycle of gardening is what lulled me to sleep each night as I read this book.
Didn’t it seem like a curmudgeonly old gent wrote this? He hated children, his neighbor’s cow that often wallowed in his garden (imagine that!), cats and chickens, and he belittled his wife. In fact, Warren was only 41 years old when he wrote this, which gives credence to my theory that people used to behave (and look) much older than they actually were. 60 may be the new 40 now, but back then a 40-year-old could easily pass for a 60-year-old codger. But since most of the book was written tongue-in-cheek, the reader has to assume that this book was meant to be read then as we’d read Dave Barry now.
I guess my favorite part of this book was Charles’ hatred of “pusley”, “a fat ground-clinging, spreading, greasy thing” which I can only assume is purslane. It’s nice to know some things never change, while others did. His antiquated views on certain topics are merely something to wonder at now, but a fact of life in his day. And his way with a phrase is what kept me engrossed and occasionally laughing out loud, such as “the cucumbers cumber the ground – great yellow, over-ripe objects” which put me in mind of May Dreams’ squash, as did Charles’ raptures over his new hoe. There were lots of other great passages but I couldn’t highlight them since I got this book from the library and they probably wouldn’t appreciate it. I don’t want to go back and re-read the whole darn book to find them again, amusing as it was. I’ll just finish this with Charles Dudley Warren’s observation that “a garden is an awful responsibility.” But he found a most amusing way to deal with it.
It has an abundance of pretty little flowers, in pink of course. I have friends who've recently planted the blue ones, but I haven't seen any pictures of theirs yet and of course their plants are still quite small.
Not like this behemoth that would like to reach the height of the now-defunct basketball hoop. My neighbor's house in the background is higher on the hill than I am, and you can just see the roof of my garage on the right to get an idea of the height. I've had to trim this bush to the ground several times over the years because heavy snows tend to smash it flat and then the limbs grow all twisted instead of springing back into shape.
While I was waiting for my daughter to get off the plane, I took this shot of the greeting area at DIA. Nice fountain under the "circus-tent" roof, and a long line of variegated something-or-others all lined up in their pots. Charles Dudley Warner would be amazed.