Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yesterday was a perfect day in Washington; the air was clear, the world glowed, and we could all breathe again

Apparently the same combination of circumstances that generated the explosion of flowers on Cherries, Magnolias, Lilacs, et alia, induced record pollen production from trees. Go figure. This past week, it's been difficult to breathe even for those of us who don't normally suffer from pollen allergies. Just the volume of pollen in the air....well, it's disgusting but the rain on Thursday night/Friday morning cleared things out. Cool temperatures Friday and Saturday haven't stimulated the massive releases of early last week so it was nice yesterday (Saturday). Forecast temperatures in the high 70's, if we get them will send the pollen count back up but I have to think we've run through a lot of the bad spring flowers.Probably wishful thinking.

Does it sound arrogant to say that my garden was breathtaking yesterday? I remember thinking it and I didn't feel arrogant. It takes a certain amount of hubris to make a garden. But it takes a lot of serendipity, a good combination of circumstances, a reasonable amount of time, and a lot of humility to make a good garden. Our newest Asian volunteer, Tatton, was working with Betty and the staff on Thursday sprucing up the Camellias for yesterday's tour and made the observation that "gardening is like playing God", and it does require a certain amount of hubris. Otherwise we'd just do restorations. But we don't; we either think we can do it better or we just want it our way. I encourage people to play a more "godlike"" role in their gardens. You have to feel empowered because, look! you are in charge. A garden is an artificial situation that requires leadership;  a rudderless garden, though it may contain beautiful things, lacks coherence and unity.

My definition is a broad one; I consider a garden to be a relationship between a gardener, or gardeners, and a space. If you don't feel empowered enough to make the BIG decisions, you won't establish that relationship and the garden becomes a place with less meaning, a place that's less you.

Of course the magic of early morning wore off as the sun rose higher in the sky. Dandelion flowers opened; I dug dozens yesterday. Midday's harsher light revealed other weeds to be removed, yet more snow damaged branches, and a range of problems to be worked on. I spent most of the day in the garden. It was wonderful.


Hartwood Roses said...

Wow, Chris. Well said! I'm going to go out now and play God in the sunshine for a while.

Nicola Moss said...

Great post Chris. I'm glad you recalled the 'breathtaking' moment. A garden never stands still, we need those times when it all comes together.