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Gertrude Jekyll's books

10 years ago

Back in the beginning, I tried to read Elizabeth Lawrence's book, "Through the Garden Gate". I got frustrated with all the botanical names (Greek to me) and bulbs, bulbs, bulbs. Bulbs mostly don't do well here, certainly not the ones she grew. So all the wonderment over the zillions of various spring bulbs bursting forth was not only tedious but drove me away, feeling dumb and irrelevant. As literature, I'm sure it's wonderful, but that was not what I was needing.

Today I saw a quote by Gertrude Jekyll. "A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." It hit a nerve in me in my weakened gardening state in which I feel like I've lost my core (did I ever have one?) and I'm running on fumes. In three seconds I could pull everything out of the garden and walk away. This summer has not been good mentally for me, being entrenched in laziness for more than two months, and I need a deeper inspiration, a philosophy with meaning, a shot of "gardening B-12", or maybe a heart transplant...I think.

I have not read Gertrude Jekyll because, frankly, England and Florida have zero in common. However, I'm now thinking I need a more advanced gardening education. This is pretty much a desperation move, because enthusiasm has left the building. I'm not happy with the look of the garden, i.e., Purple Coneflowers are lovely but not when they're the ONLY flowers, a less than satisfying experiment; rain is wonderful but things are beginning to melt; heat and more heat; diminishing stamina.

So I'm asking which of her books would be best to read first to see if I really am A GARDENER at heart. At this point it seems like I must sink or swim, and in order not to sink I must develop a strong gardening character not dependent on raw emotion but rather on mental strength, heart and soul and a way to look past all the campanulas, geraniums, penstemons, et al.

The summer Florida garden is a daunting foe. Perhaps there's another author who writes well about doing battle against adverse conditions while handicapped with a poor attitude. I'm almost toast.


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

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