A Girl’s Garden
Robert Frost (from Mountain Interval, 1920)
A neighbor of mine in the village
Likes to tell how one spring
When she was a girl on the farm, she did
A childlike thing.
One day she asked her father
To give her a garden plot
To plant and tend and reap herself,
And he said, “Why not?”
In casting about for a corner
He thought of an idle bit
Of walled-off ground where a shop had stood,
And he said, “Just it.”
And he said, “That ought to make you
An ideal one-girl farm,
And give you a chance to put some strength
On your slim-jim arm.”
It was not enough of a garden,
Her father said, to plough;
So she had to work it all by hand,
But she don’t mind now.
She wheeled the dung in the wheelbarrow
Along a stretch of road;
But she always ran away and left
Her not-nice load.
And hid from anyone passing.
And then she begged the seed.
She says she thinks she planted one
Of all things but weed.
A hill each of potatoes,
Radishes, lettuce, peas,
Tomatoes, beets, beans, pumpkins, corn,
And even fruit trees
And yes, she has long mistrusted
That a cider apple tree
In bearing there to-day is hers,
Or at least may be.
Her crop was a miscellany
When all was said and done,
A little bit of everything,
A great deal of none.
Now when she sees in the village
How village things go,
Just when it seems to come in right,
She says, “I know!
It’s as when I was a farmer——”
Oh, never by way of advice!
And she never sins by telling the tale
To the same person twice.
When I was a little girl, my grandfather gave me my own plot to plant in a corner of the back garden of their very modest house in a working class neighborhood of Portland. My grandfather was a master carpenter, but he was also a master gardener on the side, and his vegetables were as delightful to me as the roses he grew along the white picket fence out front. On the inexpensive wire fence that ran the length of the sunny north side of the house, he grew tomatoes, and peas and beans and when we harvested, he let me shell a few peas and pop the sweet crunchy morsels in my mouth for a treat. My grandmother was in charge of canning the harvest. All nature of edible goodies were stored in the dark cellar below the house. I never went down into that cellar, it frightened me. But grandma would often go down and gather items for dinner and bring me back a little jar of strawberry preserves. The recipe was just right, not too sweet and with a hint of vanilla and citrus for balance. I still make the same jam today. I often sat at their kitchen table on lazy summer afternoons eating strawberry jam on toast. I was their only grandchild for many years and I coveted the honor.
The south side of their yard was kind of mysterious and a little dark with a big Chinese Snowball bush creating a lovely arbor to walk through. My favorite part of the yard, however, was the front porch and the gorgeous pink hydrangea that grew along it. To me, there is nothing like a hydrangea flower, the soft petals growing in big fluffy bunches and at a certain point of bloom, the interiors look like little jewels.
Back to present. I have already mentioned how I adore getting to know blogger friends. Many of us have come together here because we share some things in common. The blessing and the curse, however, is that we are all scattered about the world. I understand some want and need to maintain their anonymity. It feels more safe. For me, however, I want to meet everyone who wants to be met, and I have already met some lovely ladies with more on the horizon. In the process of getting to know one particular blogger, I became a bit obsessed with her gorgeous photographs. I am totally going to visit her one of these days in her lovely corner of the world, but in the meantime, I wanted to bring a little of her talent, a little of her gorgeousness, right here to me in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I am hoping her artwork will also grace a couple walls in our new beach house, but in the meantime that bathroom we remodeled last Autumn was in desperate need of some color… and I picked… PINK.
Thank you miss owlieme for being so amazing. My bathroom thanks you too!