Tuesday Afternoon Potpourri

G/Son and I saw a family of Canada Geese at the nature center. G/Son wanted to try his hand at making a nature show. I guess the guys who make River Monsters (G/Son’s favorite) and National Geographic specials don’t have Nonnas backing them away from the animals.

*What he said. This is as succinct an explanation of what’s been going on with the economy as I’ve seen in some time.

*Maurice Sendak slipped through the veils. May the Goddess guard him. May he find his way to the Summerlands. May his friends and family know peace.

*Here’s a wonderful discussion of biennials: plants that you plant one year and that blossom the next. I’ve been trying to get hollyhocks and foxgloves to grow for years in my cottage gardens. Sadly, the cottage gardens face north, and both plants seem to want more sun than I can give them. But I’m trying again this year, both with seedlings and with lots of seeds. Hope springs eternal. And then there’s “fashion” in horticulture.

* Is there also philosophy?

There is, to be sure, a rather breezy view — one that goes back at least to Dr. Johnson, for whom gardening was an “innocent amusement,” the “sport” rather than the “business of reason” — according to which the question “Why garden?” hardly calls for profound reflection. The story is told of a famous gardener visiting Charles JencksGarden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland and remarking that he did not care about the “meaning of gardens” provided that they are nice places to be in and look at. We garden and spend time in gardens, the implication is, simply because they are enjoyable, amusing things to do. But Tim Richardson is surely right to brand the famous gardener’s attitude as “artificial,” as a “conceit,” that appeals to an “anti-intellectual strain in British culture, particularly when it comes to gardens. [But a garden] like a mountain landscape my be “apprehended” with a mysterious sense that components deeply matter to us, even if we cannot say how. And because gardens may be “seriously,” — which does not mean “solemnly” — apprehended the question of why we garden and why we live in with gardens is itself a serious one; one, that is to say, for philosophical reflection.

~ A Philosophy of Gardens by David E. Cooper

I do a lot of philosophical reflection in my garden, but I know why I garden: I garden in order to be in relationship with and to co-create with Nature, Gaia, the World.

Why do you?

*I blame Theodora Goss for my addiction to this Tumblr.

*Freeway Blogger is my hero.

4 responses to “Tuesday Afternoon Potpourri

  1. Re. the philosophy of gardens, I’m reminded of what Joseph Campbell had to say in Myths to Live By:

    “Ask an artist what his picture ‘means,’ and you will not soon ask such a question again. Significant images render insights beyond speech, beyond the kinds of meaning speech defines. And if they do not speak to you, that is because you are not ready for them, and words will only serve to make you think you have understood, thus cutting you off altogether. You don’t ask what a dance means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what the world means, you enjoy it. You don’t ask what you mean, you enjoy yourself; or at least, so you do when you are up to snuff.”

    Perhaps one doesn’t ask what a garden means; one enjoys it.

  2. My favorite biennial is not something I plant, but rather grows wild in the yard — The Common Mullein: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbascum_thapsus

    The flower spike is beautiful in its own right, but I well in love one afternoon watching a pair of goldfinches perched thereon, happily chomping on the blooms.

  3. Wonderful video! 🙂

    Why do I garden? Honestly — I have no idea today — my back is stiff and sore and I am currently cursing at fire ants ….

    But on some days — gardening is truly alchemy and a living fifth-dimension sculpture. It is a Great Weaving and Deepest Magic.

  4. Jan, thanks! I know that I’m a proud Nonna, but I do love that video. Like you, I am today sore and stiff and my hands are sore from nicks and pricks. But gardening is, as you say, deep magic.

    plucky,
    I love those. I grow woad for the goldfinches. And they love to munch on my daisies and black-eyed susans. Such lovely birds!

    mak,
    Well, true. I do garden because I enjoy it. But I think that a “philosophy of gardening” does, as the quoted language notes, go beyond just “it’s nice.” Cooper makes the point that gardening has an importance beyond the fact that it’s enjoyable (sometimes!) to garden or to spend time in gardens. Hoping yours up North is doing well!

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