… and wine comes in at the mouth. Acccording to W.B. Yeats, "That's all we shall know for truth before we grow old and die."
Actually, love comes in at the mouth for me. My main motivation for gardening is dinner.
And while my vegetable garden is generally beautiful, my ornamental beds are often a mess. I need some hardscaping I don't have the cash for, so mulch spills out of my curbless beds onto the sidewalk and the streets. The chickens tear up the beds in the back, spraying soil onto a lawn that doesn't really want to be lawn anyway. I experiment way too much and generate color combinations that can cause toothache. I still haven't found the right backbone perennial for the bone-dry sun in the back.
Nonetheless, something very important does come in at the eye.
I'm not sure what to call it, but it involves a fascination with individual flowers. Right now, nothing is out there but some tiny bulbous irises and the very first species crocuses. But I leave my desk all day long just to look at them, the same way I leave my desk to get a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate and perk myself up. The irises are particularly satisfying, with their velvety dark purple fingers.
I'll do the same thing when the first roses bloom and the first lilies. For as long as I've been gardening, I drop whatever I'm doing several times a day, stare at the flowers and feel better. Seventeen years ago, I had a wonderful but stressful job that meant long hours in a basement in Boston, three and a a half hours away from my garden. I only came home on the weekends. On Mondays, I would sometimes bring in bouquets of flowers for my office desk. They were relaxing.
I once interviewed a psychologist for a piece I was writing on the healing power of flowers. She told me that if you hand almost anyone a bouquet of flowers, they will smile. She said it's very rare that anything elicits such a universal response and compared it to dropping a snake down someone's back, which is equally reliable in causing fear.
Failing the flowers, I would take ten minutes in the midst of the office madness and flip through a glossy gardening book. That reminded me, too, that there was a natural world outside the basement, a place where there is sunshine instead of computers.
Anybody else stare at the flowers?