Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Summer in a Garden

I didn't know until I actually had this book in my hands that it was written in the nineteenth century. Those are my favorite reads. I love getting a firsthand account of life in the past.

As a flower gardener, I'm always interested in what flowers gardeners grew in the past. Although Charles Dudley Warner writes about his veggie garden, it turns out we have a lot in common. I was delighted to read about the toad in his garden. Oh, how I wish I had one in my garden eating pests! We disagree about birds. Perhaps because he was a veggie gardener and I'm a flower gardener. He considered birds pests because they ate his produce. I like them because they consume pests.

He had to deal with some very different "pests" than most gardeners today. At least the ones who garden in my area. We don't have to worry about cows or chickens wandering into our gardens or boys stealing our produce.

The biggest difference between then and now was a visit from the President. Try to envision what it would be like to have the President visit your garden. The entourage. The Secret Service. The paparazzi. When the President visited Charles Dudley Warner's garden, he came alone. He toured the garden, enjoyed some liquid refreshment and jokingly offered the job of Head Gardener at the White House to his host.

It's anecdotes like that that draw me to books written long ago. I can understand why people say that they hate reading about history. Who wants an endless recitation of dates and wars and empires? It's so much more interesting to read about the every day lives (and gardens) of every day people (and gardeners).

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