Late last week I had had enough of cajoling students to turn in their work, and of marking less-than-stellar assignments. I turned off my computer, collected my camera, and drove 15 minutes to Butchart Gardens.
Very few people were there. Tourism is in the basement this year, as it should be. Paths are designated as one-way only. I looked down at the Sunken Garden and thought about how Jennie Butchart, faced with an unsightly abandoned cement quarry near to her home, had the vision to transform the ugliness into something beautiful. What dreams she had. How hard she worked.
Jennie's husband wasn't so much enthralled by flowers as by rare birds. One year while the couple were traveling in Europe, Robert Butchart got word that two of his prized wood ducks, imported from Germany, had been attacked by a bald eagle and were no longer. Since the couple were already on the continent, Robert thought that a detour via Germany to collect replacement birds would be a good idea. Jennie protested, saying that they would miss their boat back to Canada. However, Robert insisted and the couple had to make alternate arrangements for their return. As it turns out, the boat they missed was the Titanic.
As I walked along the paths, stopping frequently to admire the views, tension dropped away. Emilie Barnes writes,
"Garden time is time that involves itself in the moment, that passes each moment fully alive, that focuses on the soaring stateliness of trees and the minute scale of the tiniest blossom and insect."
I'll leave you to enjoy the garden photos, with some collected garden thoughts along the way.
"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas."
"God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures."
"Most garden dreams thrive on hope - for what is a dream but imaginative hope? And gardeners, as a group, are the most hopeful people I know."
"Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen, not to voices but to the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen."
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Enjoy your day, dear friends.