Subtle

Just finished reading ‘My garden(book)’ by Jamaica Kincaid, who lives and gardens in Vermont and whose roots are in Antigua. Interesting to read about her childhood home, where there were no gardens but (tiny) houses and (large) plots where everyday life was lived and where useful plants were just, well, planted. A lot of the aggro we modern gardeners have could be avoided if we just plonked plants in somewhere and went on with our lives around them. 

Mrs Kincaid is a prolific user of brackets, which gives me the idea that she’s a woman that has many second thoughts, convoluted thoughts and branching-out thoughts. Made the book a bit more difficult to read, it comes halfway to being poetry (which has always been a closed book to me).  I persevered, though, and it was interesting. A few notes: page 146 ‘In the story (the western one) in which we find ourselves, words come before images; the word makes us long for an image, a word is never enough for the thing – the image – that we have just seen.’ Page 212 read ‘Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World’ by Frank Kingdom Ward and ‘Plant Hunters Paradise’ by Ernest Wilson.  

More posts to come about gardeners and garden books, as I spend the December days of non-gardening working my way through books on gardening. My latest fad is watching Monty Don encourage British gardeners to go wild in ‘big dreams, small spaces’. Amongst other things I am learning how to do  critique British style – which is much more subtle than what us poor, blunt Dutch are used to. ‘You may want to reconsider’ meaning ‘you must be totally bonkers to want this’, for example. Useful stuff! 

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