Gardens of books, books of gardens

Saturday mornings. Making coffee. Watering plants. Standing at the sink and daydreaming.

Remember the seemingly unassuming toadstools or circles of dark grass at the bottom of the garden in kids’ books, how they were actually doorways into other lands? It struck me this morning that in addition to being in a garden my adult equivalents are standing in the shower, or, standing here at the sink: both seemingly unassuming places where I often find thoughts waiting to sprout.

What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.
― Carl Jung

Diary entry, August 8th.

But much as I love to see these wide sweeps of country clothed in rose and amethyst the pleasure of it is touched with a pang, for the birds are silent when the heather blooms and their silence is ominous. It means that the time of farewells is not far away. Already they feel the pull of the African sun. Only a few more weeks and they will be preparing to fly south. Every now and then a greenfinch tosses a few notes into the air and the wrens scatter snatches of song about the hedges as if to make amends for the sulky silences of lark and blackcap. But the lark can be excused for being glum in August for he does not hanker after the blue skies of Egypt or the warm green bowers of the Congo. Even on a cold wintry day he can be heard pouring out his ‘profuse strains of unpremeditated art’ above the bare ploughlands.


The Glory of the Garden reads like a fairytale, taking the reader into the sensory paradise of the narrator’s English garden, over the course of four seasons.
Since I found it wedged in a shelf in a musty secondhand bookshop in Manchester I have taken it across the world with me, and read it over glasses of winter wine, morning coffees, late night teacups, and frosty cold summer beers. It is transformative and transporting magic. Turning its pages alters time; I could be in a garden with late summer melancholy fifty years ago, or here, now.

What magical things books and gardens are.

Hope you lose yourself in one or the other, or both today.

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