This Thing Called Courage

Monday, February 27, 2006



This is me (NOT the book cover!) sitting in a water garden that we made a few years ago when I still had my landscaping business. (The book's cover model is a police officer from one of our mid-size New England cities. Don't you feel safer already?)
For the past three's or so I have been only doing writing and art-- and finally this spring I seem to be missing the landscaping just a tad, and may come out of retirement to do a project or two if it's an interesting one. To me, the landscaping has always been three-dimensional art. There's no other art form that appeals to all five senses, nor one (that I can think of anyway) that becomes so interactive with nature, through the change of seasons and the growth (or, alas, the non-growth!) of plants. This week I'll be starting my seedlings for my own little wee bit of a garden, specifically for my favorite plant, Nicotiana alata grandiflora, or Flowering Tobacco. This is not the flowering tobacco one sees at most nurseries, as this modern iteration has been hybridized (bastardized?) until it is a fragrance-free shrimp of its former glory with fairly offensive names like Nikki Red and Nikki Pink. The original is a somewhat floppy, blowsy six-footer (if your soil is rich) that, in the evening, opens its small, trumpet-like white flowers and emits a fragrance so sweet, haunting, and powerful, passersby yards and yards away will stop and sniff-- it isn't a garden to me without this plant. The seed is like sand grains though, and must be started early (like now). But well worth the hassle.
I guess I didn't say in my intro that I would be talking about my garden at all too-- but apparently I will be! What a great topic to think and write about when it's 11 degrees as I speak, with a wind chill below zero...the walk this morning was an abbreviated one, as Fionn promptly lied down on the snowy grass when we got to Friendly's and refused to go any further. Smart dog!

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