I recently picked up an old book, The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs, from Timber Press.I remembered this book having lots of beautiful images, and I wasn’t disappointed, but this time through I particularly enjoyed the author’s snarky and opinionated take on gardening, for example…
“One of the mysteries of my life is repeated every day. I drive to and from work and cannot help but notice block after block of very average-income homes that appear hopelessly un-gardeny. It is almost a case of one-upmanship to be the most unplanted, least cared for but absolutely occupied. To me it is a drive through the Valley of Death. Expensive cars, new basketball hoops, satellite television receivers and white plastic patio furniture are everywhere. I ask myself, “What do these people care about anyway?” Occasionally I’ll spot a stranded tree peony, blooming it’s heart out stoned on ugly. Or a maypole-type clothes-line bedecked with absolutely fried plastic hanging baskets. The botanical equivalent of a car crash.
What I have surmised, with a little help from Joan Rivers, is that “God Divides!” Not everyone received the bel’occhio gene (Italian meaning ‘beautiful eye’). Those of us who did are the lucky ones. We take things like sunsets for granted and get excited over the first snowdrop. We save wrapping paper because it is so beautiful, not just to save money and reuse it (well, maybe). Being blessed with what amounts to an extra gene is like having a limitless credit card to go out and treat yourself to a wonderful life. Don’t let it expire.”
And about gardening with an eye to the future …
‘Realizing a space’s potential has nothing to do with its actual size. So those who find themselves gardening in less space shouldn’t feel short-changed. Envisioning what could be is actually easier when you’re working with physical limitations.
When I garden, I am really setting up for what I hope will be, not what is presently visible. Although my body is working, my mind is months or even years down the road. It has to be. If I stayed in the present, I would never like what I saw. Dreaming while you work is one of gardening’s big payoffs. I believe it must create chemical changes in the body. Stress levels disappear, voices become whispers and sore backs don’t appear until the next day. The reward is worth any amount of effort.”
I love that… “When I garden, I am really setting up for what I hope will be, not what is presently visible.”…so true.
The talented Mr. Hobbs owns Southlands Nursery in Vancouver BC, and lucky me, we will be making a trip up to Vancouver in the next couple of months…so I plan to check it out. Other stops will include the VanDusen Botanical GardenAnd the UBC Botanical Garden. If anyone has other recommendations of garden related places to visit in Vancouver I would love to hear about them. And after a particularly horrendous dinner experience in Chinatown last time we visited we’re not taking chances this time…if you’ve got a fav Chinatown restaurant we’d love to hear about it too!