Monday, May 23, 2011

"Live as Gloriously as You Can"

It's Victoria day - the Monday of a long weekend, the all-gardening-weekend.  Saturday and Sunday were perfect gardening days.  Our backyard is small, but we spent both days out in the warm sun cleaning out beds, weeding, adding fresh soil, and then planting.  Mainly the flowers we plant are in pots.  We planted a lot of seeds in containers this year, more than usual, because we're trying to stick to a strict budget.  I thought I'd lost interest in the garden, in truth.  But looking at the newly weeded yard and all the pots planted, and hanging out under the blossoms of our Evans cherry tree (above), listening to the bees hum, it was impossible not to begin to fall once again under the spell of all that is green and blooming.

On Saturday evening (before I realized that every single muscle in my body had been strained), we all three sat out on the patio, each with a book, and the grown-ups with a glass of wine.  The book I brought out was one I'd been saving for the occasion:  A New Leaf: Growing with my Garden, by the wonderful Merilyn Simonds.  I've read the first 50 pages and am in love and plan on savoring this book slowly, and always outside, in the garden.  Simonds sums up my gardening philosophy so gorgeously:  "never work harder than you have to; live as gloriously as you can."  And so the spell was complete.  Reading this book, I was once again in love with my garden.

I had the good fortune to briefly meet Merilyn Simonds at the Writers Guild of Alberta Awards night a couple of years or so ago.  She said so many lovely and encouraging and generous things about Calm Things.  Though shortlisted, CT didn't win.  But honestly, because of her kind words, I did in fact feel like I'd won something.  I was thrilled to hear that she'd written a book about her garden and immediately envisioned reading it in my own.  Though I have to say that Simonds has a real, a serious garden, and mine is about the size of a postage stamp.  50 pages in and I've already learned 10 new things about gardening.  But what I didn't expect and am delighted with - is that the book is about people, her Beloved, and neighbors and friends - the Garden Guru, the Rosarian, the Frisian.  The book is in fact a page turner - I'm dying to know what happens next.

It's raining today, which is typical for a long weekend.  We were lucky to have two days in the garden. And anyway, the rain prevents any fussing I might otherwise be doing.  Just leave it be.  The joy of a small yard.  Usually half way through the summer we do another major weeding, but otherwise from here on in, it's just sitting and admiring.  Drinking wine and reading books.  Trying to remain calm. Which at the moment is impossible.  Less than a month to go until Rob's show opens....


  1. I have Gardener's Body, too, Shawna! I think we had the same weekend, except my husband read while he watched me work. It's good to love the process as much as the fruits of your labor.

  2. Okay, by Monday night...I can hardly move. It's only the wine keeping me limber now... : )


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