Here is a small corner of the garden that I am now, somehow, in charge of.
God help us all.
It is so incredibly beautiful here in this tiny hamlet located just where New York’s Hudson Valley and the Berkshires meet. In fact, it’s small enough that I hesitate to name it publicly. I love all my readers, but would prefer that they never come knocking at my door.
So, we’ve just bought a house up here, for weekends, vacations and most importantly, the storage of Phil’s race car.
It was early Spring when we put down our earnest money, and now it’s summer and the garden is large and beautiful and filled with flowers and plants that I cannot name. Well, I’ve been doing my best, so far I’ve identified lavender, mint, daisies, and — a triumph — spiderwort. This last because the previous owner left the little plant tag near where it bloomed.
It’s been four weeks and I don’t seem to have killed anything yet. But in caring for this garden, an alien environment for a girl who grew up in a Manhattan apartment where the only foliage was silk flowers, I’ve realized that my approach to this gardening thing is a lot like my approach to any foreign environment.
In other words, it’s a lot like travel.
I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the right word is for things, and how not to anger the residents. I mutter “okay, okay, okay,” under my breath, a lot. And I make gestures to show my goodwill. Like when I went to Warsaw, I laboriously learned to say “thank you” in Polish. (Chink-ooo-yah). And here in the garden, I actually planted tomatoes.
I’m working on a piece now, tentatively titled the Traveler’s Guide to Gardening or the Gardener’s Guide to Traveling. We’ll see where it goes.