The One With the Garden

He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.  ~Cicero

I do not have a garden, yet I have watched more than my share of gardening television shows and had lengthy conversations with my neighbor, who is a landscape architect, about how much to water gerberas. I just finished a book written by the head gardener at Versailles who spent nearly 300 pages describing his love affair with the “world’s grandest garden.” As someone who has little knowledge about flora, I am continually fascinated that you can put a small seed in the dirt and within a few weeks gaze upon a purple blossom or pick a ripe tomato.

I say, “you” because I can do no such thing. Gardening is a skill I wish I possessed. I admire people who can sustain small villages with the bounty from their backyards or who can turn trees into art. I want to be this person, the one with dirty knees who smells like the earth, closer to the cycle of nature. Unfortunately the last time I tried to grow anything, every leaf withered into brown crisps within minutes.

When I need a garden fix, I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardena beautiful respite in the middle of the city.  Here’s what was in bloom just last week. 

 

Water Lilies

Water Lilies Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 

 

 

Water Lilies Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 

Water Lilies Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 

 

Shakespeare Garden

Shakespeare Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Plants from the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any thing.  ~The Tempest

Shakespeare Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Good monsieur, get you your weapons in your hand and kill me a red hipp’d bumble bee on the top of a thistle. ~A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

The Blooms

Sunflower Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Nothing says summer like sunflowers.

 

It looks like a baby eggplant, but apparently the taste is quite bitter.

It looks like a baby eggplant, but apparently the taste is quite bitter.

 

Anyone know the name of the pink round blooms in the top half of the frame?

Anyone know the name of the pink round blooms in the top half of the frame?

 

I love the showy blooms as much as the next person, but my favorites are these oaks. Majestic.

I love the showy blooms as much as the next person, but my favorites are these oaks. Majestic.

 

Do you have a green thumb? What’s your favorite plant or tree? 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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35 comments

  1. Beautiful post! Have been thinking a lot about flowers lately, and how much they lift one’s soul. My favourites are white roses – big lush extravagant blooms, yet so simple and pure in colour. Alas no green finger myself!

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  2. Your photos are amazing — I am lately absolutely in love with water lilies, so I’m so glad you posted them. I do have a green thumb when I try but this year I can really join you in admiring gardeners. We have some wild beautiful perennials left from previous years’ efforts but most of our garden is weeds. Too much writing (yeah that’s it). I am so happy to learn of the Versailles gardener’s book. I love Versailles so much and last trip to Paris spent a whole day wandering the grounds. What a wonderful post, Jackie!

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  3. Love the Shakespeare garden – what a great idea! I’m with you in the non-green fingers camp, I’m afraid. Probably why I never fit in in LV – they even sell seeds in the newsagent’s. I’m much better at looking at/eating the results 😉

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  4. I love the Shakespeare garden!!! So clever and such a neat oasis in the middle of the city. I just read a blog post about getting off the path and finding the out of the way and little traveled roads to see beautiful things. I need to send her this post because it shows how there can be beauty in the middle of “busy”. !!! Love it!

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    1. That’s the perfect way to describe it — an oasis in the city. When I get into the gardens, all of the traffic and ambient city noise just falls away. My favorite thing to do is sit on the overlook and watch the birds flit about the trees.

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    1. I bet the kitties would enjoy the gardens. Lots of excellent hiding spots. Also, there are some fish in the water lily pond that they would find very interesting.

      How is the weather in Bavaria right now?

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      1. Right now this minute, it’s pissing down with rain 😉 Overall, it’s been OK. Lots of thunderstorms, but sun as well, and decidedly more pleasant than the baking hell of Toledo.

        And yes, the kitties would enjoy a spot of carp prodding…

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  5. Can’t believe I’ve never been to that place! Must fix that soon.
    Jackie, I wasn’t that impressed with the Versailles gardens. The paintings and the buildings were so much more amazing. We waited for the fountains to come on for two hours and then found out they weren’t running that year. 😀

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    1. I think you would really enjoy the botanic garden. There’s so much more I didn’t even show — a Japanese garden and koi pond, a tropical rainforest (housed in a giant greenhouse) and a cherry esplanade. Worth the visit! But it sounds like your trip to the Versailles gardens were not. How disappointing. The fountains are spectacular I hear.

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  6. I think you underestimate yourself. If you purchase plants that don’t require much care, that’s a good start. I get a lot of joy out of my garden most of the year, but in late summer, when it starts to look so unruly and the blossoms are crisp, it can be a bit distressing. The great thing about a garden is how it is constantly changing. And it brings wonderful creatures into our proximity. Except for slugs. Ugh.

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    1. Some of my neighbors have lovely small gardens and it’s wonderful to see the interesting blooms that come up in different months. Kind of fascinating, really. I don’t see any slugs in these gardens, but I do see lots of snails!

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  7. I don’t have a garden either. (We live in an apartment.) But, I get my “fix” by walking in Meijers Gardens in Grand Rapids. Like you, I’m an admirer, but not an actual grower. At different times, we’ve had gardens and it is so satisfying to see your “work” take root and mature. Hope you get your garden soon!–Patti

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    1. I live in an apartment building also, so, while I don’t have my own garden, I’m very lucky because some of my neighbors have green thumbs. They maintain a lovely garden on our roof, but when I need a grander scale I can go to the botanic garden. How nice that you have the Meijers Gardens nearby.

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  8. Oh wow! Those water lilies are delicious, Jackie. 🙂 I have some, probably coming up tomorrow if I can ever get caught up. I have a great weakness for rhododendrons and clematis but I’m a sucker for most plants. Mick is the gardener but I’m an excellent admirer. 🙂

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  9. No green thumb over here, either, but when I was a small fry, I loved digging in my parents’ back yard. I have no idea where I got the shoveling dirt gene. Maybe I’m part spaniel and Reggie and I are related? I love these shots of the flora and fauna of Brooklyn. I find something about a garden that is maintained by someone who knows what they’re doing, soothing, like good music.

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