Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How to Choose Simpler to Have More

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."  Will Rogers.
I could fill this garden spot, below, with friends at lunch, or a soiree in the evening, enjoying both.  Mostly, I would fill it up alone.  A spot to work with laptop, or paper, properly provisioned with journals at the ready, and book/s, a glass of water.  At weekend, gardening is added, various tools/baskets set atop the table, a few vases brought for clippings made into arrangements for the week.  The best clippings bushes, those arrangements sometimes last months.  Birds above, cats milling, water fountain on lowest pressure, scents wafting across the meadow.  Alone, at table, or in the garden, "...one's inner voices become audible (and) in consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives."  Wendell Berry.  And what lives, especially E.M. Forster, often Joseph Campbell, the Stoics, Beverly Nichols, Christopher Lloyd, Sir Roy Strong, Helen Dillon, etc...
All for the privilege of making a choice.  At the front end, I named these choices 'selfish', blessedly, in epiphany, I know these choices are purest grace. 
Putting the trinity of intelligence, diligence, wisdom against letting-it-be.  Letting-it-be upfront, day one, too small, worse, a cage.  'Fertile solitude....the basic unit of a full & contented life.'
In the garden, a place to be at peace with "The part of us that's smart & funny but also lost & broken."  Bathing away life out of the garden, people not making choices for beauty, elegance, wisdom.  Not that I succeed at wisdom greatly or often, knowing the effort is more than half way there.  'It's not what happens to you, it's what you do when it does', a favorite cliche.  The blame game has no elegance, instead I ask questions that don't know there is blame.   
You've read this far, you're a garden whisperer.
Yet, are you new to this?  What?  This garden world, this garden life, this garden portal of your own?  With, 'conviction, commitment & conscience', plan your landscape, each will return greater in forms you've never known, but always knew.

sky full of stars ✨😍Beautiful wedding reception by @italian_eye_events @italian_eye
Pic, above, here.
So.  People who will never read this far, never achieve a garden/landscape beyond builder grade?  "Good guy, bad guy narratives might not possess any moral sophistication, but they do promote social stability...."  Catherine Nichols.
Builder grade landscapes survived/thrived for decades.  Now their toxicity to soil, water, wildlife, insects has reached proportions affecting our own health, individually & collectively.  The garden, above, has stepped away from builder grade.  Its plinth is agrarian/pastoral, not industrialized.
Martha Washington used these tables, above, merely planks atop saw horses.  Chairs?  Start resourcing at garage sales & thrift stores, field gathered.  Paint them all the same color.  A color from your exterior color trinity, of course.
Wish I could say I chose gardening.  No, wasn't that smart.  Instead, one of the few born into it.  Literally.
 Image result for celia thaxter he who is born with a silver spoon quote
Pic, above, here.
Hope you already own, An Island Garden, by Celia Thaxter.  She's one of those audible inner voices heard clearly, in my garden.
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara


Unknown said...

Hi Tara,
Glad to see you writing again. Hope you are also taking care to let yourself morn your loss.

Vickie H. said...

Your blog posts always awaken something dormant in me that I cannot name but I need it like I need to breathe. Thank you! This was another beautiful offering. Continuing to keep you all in my prayers. Believing that the best will be yours.

Tamara Agarwal said...

Brilliant, as always, Tara. I think we all need ‘a place to be at peace with "The part of us that's smart & funny but also lost & broken."’ I certainly do.

Penelope Bianchi said...


'It's not what happens to you, it's what you do when it does'

How that rings in my ears!

I am giving my 3rd "speaking engagement" in May. My first one, in Dallas...was "how to make a world out of a vacant lot". I showed pictures of our vacant lot......and then the progression to where it was.
The second one was part of the first one..and then the devastation......and they had a tour of the emerging just restored garden. The house, blessedly, miraculously, intact.
Now I will give the talk again....to the Bel Air Garden Club (they have real "gardens" there, as in manicured, spectacular gardens. They want to see the pictures of what I call a "not a real garden". It is a wildlife sanctuary and almost an anti-garden. But I am thrilled they want me to speak...they came up on a bus before the disaster and loved what they saw. Sometimes, just seeing an alternative to the idea of a perfect garden is a freeing thing.
I will make sure that quotation is a big part of my speaking engagement!

Thank you for that! And somehow, I must have heard it somewhere in my soul! I think I live it. (I hope that is not bragging).

Penelope Bianchi said...

Ordered Celia Thaxter book Thank you! It was on Amazon (from your link) for $3.00! Can't wait! I own all your books and every one you recommend!

I am what you call a "big fan"!!

Penelope Bianchi said...

Tara....I love this post beyond.

I would like to add: most of the time....there is no blame.

Certainly in my life....there is absolutely no blame. There is now nothing but gratitude.

Dewena said...

That is a magical scene. But I like your vision of all that you would do there in "fertile solitude", Tara, gathering all the elements around you that are important to you.

We're still searching for more chairs, everyone else must be too!

Mary said...

I've been hoping things are better for you during this difficult time with your Beloved and Mother, and that they are doing better Tara. Please know they remain in my thoughts - as do you.

I'm thinking I may fall into the 'garden whisperer' category - I've read every special word here and much enjoyed. I've always wanted to take the ferry over to the Isle of Shoals to Celia's garden - perhaps this summer when we return to New Hampshire it will happen! Childe Hassam's delightful paintings of her garden and the island scenery are favorites.

I laugh at these often 'over the top' wedding venues - I see no way they can ever be classified as low budget!

I love my own 30 yr. plus garden, small but with good bones, rather in need of some clean up right now - a deck with built-in Victorian gazebo - screened of course as being English have never managed to handle mosquitoes in a NC summer season - and a place where I sit often with my laptop, entertain friends for tea, pour a chilled bottle of rosé, and serve up something delicious. There are a couple of arbors, one with wisteria (please bloom this year - last year the late frost hurt), a small curved wall, birdhouses, bird baths and feeders, a much-loved potting shed with purple painted shutters and a blackberry stenciled floor from my younger days when I could work on my knees, haha! Now, in the shed gracefully draped in ivy and akebia, I putter with my bits and bobs, and sneak great bird and squirrel photos from the doorway. My now mature Celeste fig (home to numerous bird species + naughty squirrels) and planted when just 18 inches tall, is a 15 foot beauty, late summer means canning fig jam to share with many. I tell myself to forget about moving to an easy-peasy condo - I'd miss this garden and all that's in it so much.

I gardened as a child with my mother. England after WWII had many 'Victory Gardens' - we grew our veggies, fruits and beautiful flowers - I can remember it all so well with much joy.

Stay well and be happy as springtime arrives in the garden.
Mary -