Voice and Vision

One Woman's WORDS AND WORKS •grapple •inspire •liberate

157: The Ageless Beauty and Joy of a Garden

My daffodils and crocuses have announced themselves today. They smile “Spring is coming!” and remind me of the garden I will plant in a month or so (Maine is due another snow in two days, so I’ll be patient).

Each garden is unique, reflecting the gardener who creates and maintains it. I’ve a friend I’ve known since junior high who lives near Lake Michigan who practically lives in her garden, regardless of the weather. She loves her cats, so for Christmas this year I sent her an iron garden statue of a cat which she plans to place by a lattice wall which will have climbing roses in June. My sons each have huge vegetable gardens, sending me garlic, jams from their fruit, and, if I lived closer, I’d even likely get one of Jason’s superb raspberry pies. My daughter has become an amazing gardener, planting and transforming her Pennsylvania twin–front, back and side yards–with shrubs, trees, flowering plants, and even an artisan-forged gate. I do the best I can with my own garden, though herds (yes, herds!) of mosquitoes and blackflies rule in Maine much of the planting and growing season.

Gardens are more than practical; they are spiritual. The early Celts saw lakes, streams, waterfalls, hills, glens and stone circles as special places of inspiration.  Gardens were important to the ancients, thus we can read about garden goddesses such as Greek Antheia, Roman Pomona, and Welsh Cerridwen. Today, some gardeners use stone crosses with carved Celtic knots in their landscapes, reminiscent of early Irish and Welsh gardens.

Another inspiring garden form is a Japanese Garden. If you are fortunate enough to live near one, I suggest visiting. There was one in Memphis, Tennessee which I frequented when I lived there. My son lived near one in Portland, Oregon which we visited whenever we stayed with him.

A Japanese Garden is a minimalist oasis of beauty–every rock precisely placed, every plant perfectly pruned, sand raked in a thoughtful design, the sound of a flowing stream gently cascading. An ideal place for tranquil sitting, thinking, meditating, praying.

But even the smallest place can accommodate a garden. When my parents lived on the top floor of a Boston high-rise, Mom created on her narrow balcony a garden of pots filled with flowering plants, tomatoes, and herbs. No matter what tiny patch of space you can find, a garden will fill you with joy. And 2024 is a good year to plant some joy! So even if you’ve never gardened before, give it a try.

Entrance to the Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon, matted watercolor, approx. 22" x 18", $675 by Gwendolyn Evans

Entrance to the Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon, matted watercolor, approx. 22″ x 18″, $675 by Gwendolyn Evans

ArtworkEntrance to the Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon, matted watercolor, approx. 22″ x 18″, $675. I painted this on a visit to Portland, Oregon, two decades ago, and left the painting with my son; nevertheless, this sparkling watercolor is for sale.

Next Post

Previous Post

© 2024 Voice and Vision

Theme by Anders Norén