Dyer, Walter A.
The philosophy of gardens, pp. 3-7
THE PHILOSOPHY OF GARDENS W E MUST be content to let our gardens grow. We must be- gin at once, and then we must be patient. When I plant the garden of my dreams, I propose to follow no formal school. I shall plant annuals, for the sake of their bountiful if short-lived beauty. I shall plant asters because they please me, whether the pink and lavender and white and purple conform to the best canons of color harmony or not. I know of no pink so heavenly as the pink of China asters. Nasturtiums I shall have in great profusion, and corn flowers, and sweet peas for pick- ing. I shall plant the old-fashioned hardy perennials, because I am foolishly attached to the things of my fathers, and because there is no blue like the blue of larkspur. I shall plant roses, because they approach as near to perfection as anything I expect to find on earth. I shall plant trees-not short-lived poplars, not purple beeches or grotesque lawn specimens, but honest Norway maples, white pines, white oaks, and elms-because I shall then be adding a mite to the permanent glory of nature. I shall plant box, if I live south of the latitude of Hartford, for though I shall never live to gaze upon its century-old grandeur, I shall feel that I am repaying in some slight degree the great debt bequeathed to me. A garden, I am convinced, is eminently worth while. It pays dividends in spiritual currency. This truth is not to be proved by argument; it is to be learned by experience. A garden is not a great matter, perhaps, but it is one of the most palatable ingredients of the life-worth-living. It is one of those little touches which help to blend the more garish colors in life's tapestry. The Spectator wrote thus: "You must know, sir, that I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden as one of the most innocent delights in human life. A garden was the habitation of our first parents before the fall. It is naturally apt to fill the mind with calmness and tranquillity, and to lay its turbulent passions at rest. It gives us great insight into the contrivance and wisdom of Provi- dence, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation. I cannot but think that the very complacency and satisfaction which a man takes in these works of nature to be a laudable, if not a virtuous, habit of mind." And above and beyond the good to be derived from communion with the spirit of a garden is that obtained from working in it. Get- ting down close to Mother Earth and helping things to grow- therein lies an education. I care not whether it be rhododendrons 6
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