Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

I was playing frisbee with Patty, our Catahoula Leopard dog, this morning and happened to look down in the bushes under the office window and saw these little buds everywhere. I gave up counting around sixty.

The original owners of our house were supposed to have lived in it from the 40s through the late 80s or early 90s, so I'm assuming they are the ones who took care that something would be blooming year around (if you count the red berries that covered the bushes in the front and backyard through the winter).

Early this Spring it started with the forsythia, then the numerous daffodils, of several varieties. Followed by the irises, then the blackberry vines and the wisteria, a lone tulip, and then the mystery bush in the front yard with the white flowers. Now it'll be roses, and I know from when we moved in last year, they will be followed by another rose bush, two Camellia bushes, and honeysuckle, and crepe myrtle, and then the red berries. It has been so much fun, not knowing what to expect. I wonder if there will be another surprise between the roses and the camellias?

Currently, the neighborhood we live in is covered with flowers. So not only do I get to enjoy my own but looking out my front window I've been able to watch the Bradford Pears, the redbuds, the white and pink dogwoods, the azaleas, and a mystery vine covered with yellow blooms, that I haven't identified yet. Watching all this blossoming around me, I was inspired to dig out a book I hadn't read in years, a childhood favorite that I was introduced to by my mother, The Secret Garden.


This is the story of two abandoned children, cousins left alone to the care of servants in a huge and lonely house on the Yorkshire Moore. It begins in late winter, the house as dark and mysterious as the frozen winter grounds, reflecting the trapped spirits of the two children who have been left unnurtured all their short life. Yet as Spring arrives and they escape out of the house into the outdoors, into the Secret Garden, and the companionship of a young Yorkshire lad who has grown up wild on the moores in the company of the birds and the foxes and the lambs and all the other growing things, the weak and sallow children bloom along with the bulb plants and rose bushes.

It has been a completely different experience reading this book as an adult who loves the Bronte sisters. Recognizing the symbology of the barren moores and the wuthering winds, and seeing a repeat of Jane Eyre's lonely childhood; but the female lead comes to a fruition of the spirit much earlier in life than poor Jane. Also present are the long lonely corridors of a manor on the moore and the wailing of a mysterious voice somewhere in the depths of the house. And, like Cathy in Wuthering Heights, wild children roam the moore, but these children come to a much better end!

Reading it seemed a perfect prelude to planting my own garden--which I think will finally happen tomorrow if the weather cooperates. Finally a day off and a sunny day should coincide!

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Does anyone know what this is? It's been blooming for several weeks now.



  1. glad you still enjoy that book - I haven't read it in years.

  2. One of my favorite books as a child. I vividly remember the descriptions of the houses and gardens.