Sue Dickman from A Life Divided has a lovely essay in the Christian Science Monitor about the gardens and gardening books of Beverly Nichols. I was thinking about garden writing today because of that personal essay in the Times' Homes section about a guy starting his own garden. For some reason, I found that essay boring and insufferable. All it made me want to do was offer up a prayer of thanks to Farm Markets for making any personal attempts at a kitchen garden obsolete. This is especially lucky since I live in New York City and have zero access to soil. There's not even a community garden nearby. But Sue's essay (I hope it's OK if I go by her first name!) is just the kind of gardening piece that makes me dream it would be just wonderful to garden. That I'd love digging my hands into the soil and tending to my wee tomato plants. That figuring out what bush belonged where would inspire a very particular kind of creativity and connection with my home that I wouldn't otherwise have. And that come the end of the season I'd can my full-grown tomatoes and snip fresh herbs and think doing all that was normal, just what you do. At night I'd read the charming books of Beverly Nichols and I'd know my own garden might be a simple and slapdash, if well-loved, affair but still part of a wide and deep web of cultivation.
Meanwhile, I'm never going to have that garden, even when I have a yard. Maybe I'll have an herb box, but not that garden. I know the dailiness of it will make me want to nap. But still, a girl can dream, and it seems like maybe Nichols' books can give shape to those dreams.