I have been doing some reading on the front porch the past couple of afternoons. My front yard is no bigger than a handkerchief surrounded by a picket fence. Three small arbor vitaes stand at attention to the left of the walkway. A red knock-out rose, a planter boasting a green fern, two French blue planters with red geraniums, and a French blue birdbath decorate the right side of the yard.
It is very pleasant of an afternoon to sit outside in my black wicker chair. Sometimes the reading turns into a bit of napping, but where's the harm in that?
What better book to accompany me today than Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Elizabeth loves her garden. Although not perfect, she finds solace there and sees its potential. She plants, she fails, she plants again. She wanders. She reads. She builds castles in the air.
She makes a pilgrimage to her childhood garden. The house where she grew up now belongs to cousins. Because Elizabeth was born a She and not a He, the house and gardens were lost to her when her father died. Memories come of pleasant days spent hiding from governesses. She cries when she comes across a little patch of radishes still growing in a particular border tended by her father.
I like to read about gardening, but you won't find me touching dirt. Although my mother could name every flower and tree in a yard or park and my father enjoyed puttering around in his tomato and iris beds, I didn't get that gardening gene. I know that others thrill to the pulling of weeds, the squishing of bugs, the pruning of rose bushes. I am not one of them. What is therapeutic for some proves to be simply taxing for me.