"Now 'tis the spring and weeds are shallow rooted,
Suffer them now and they'll o'ergrow the garden"
Our suburban garden was a model of low maintenance when we acquired it sixteen years ago, just two or three meager shrubs, a sparse lawn and a little square of patio stones behind the kitchen door. No weeding to be done, no leaf raking, just grass to be cut once a week through the summer months and perhaps fertilized once or twice a year. I couldn't just leave it alone, of course.
An afternoon spent raking and weeding last week revealed some of the winter casualties. We have lost most of our azaleas. A little row of euonymus, planted last fall to border the footpath and replace work intensive annuals and perennials, has been eaten to the ground. We suspect the local rabbit population, but it was a bitter winter and they had to eat something. One clematis is thriving, the other is clinging to life. There is much to be done. I need some advice and sympathy. So I turn to a cup of tea and my garden books, where I am sure to find kindred spirits.
"It has not been all success."
By comparison, H.E.Bates (The Darling Buds of May) wrote this book for his children in 1939, when the war clouds were gathering over his garden in Kent .
In the dedication he wrote,"That little garden of yours, with its daffodils and turnips and primroses and radishes and forget-me-nots and marrows, all mixed up in the same bed, has already given you a lot of pleasure. When you look back on it and the days you spent there under the pink plum tree, you may perhaps think of it as one of the happiest things in your life. But one day also you will, most probably, want to make a different, larger and better garden for yourselves."
I can't find any information about the fabulous Molly Thompson, who devised and illustrated this darling book, except that she also illustrated for Enid Blyton. But wouldn't you love to step into that old fashioned orchard with the big apple trees?
The Fairy Land Trust is one organization attempting to beguile little children into an appreciation of nature. They have a lovely website that is well worth a visit. http://www.fairylandtrust.org/