Over and over, I tell myself there’s something bad wrong with working as hard as I do to create a good-looking garden and leaving all of it out there – not bringing enough of it in to be enjoyed in the house. And, over and over, I promise to do better, to bring more plant beauty inside on a regular basis, display something fresh from out there. Whether it’s a bud or a bloom or a branch.
Oh, I cut a few blooms in spring and summer, but too few to mention. Then, come autumn, I clip a little fiery foliage for the table. But, too often, flowers and foliage make it inside just on special occasions, not as everyday pleasures.
The late Maynard Jackson, who was mayor of Atlanta when I lived there in the 1990s, made sure that cut flowers were always in the house, a niceness that he and his wife Valerie enjoyed daily. When he told me that years ago, I told myself that if he, a non-gardener, took the trouble to buy flowers as often as he did, then surely I could keep my wife Lyn and me in a little something-something indoors by merely walking out the door and snip-snipping.
So, each year, I’d vow to do that. Then, I’d slack off. This time I’m sticking to the vow. And, I’m starting early. The other day, I clipped a sprig of azalea to go with pine candles. And, later I brought in two ferns unfolding, along with a small maple branch. As the year unfolds, my offerings will multiply.
|A Little Piece of My Garden: Azalea, Pine With Candles|
Like a garden itself, these pieces that come from the garden stand as unique representations of the garden and the gardener. Too, they amount to a time stamp on the garden’s appearance at a given time.
|Japanese Maple 'Butterfly', Maidenhair, Cinnamon Ferns|
Over the years, when I’ve visited gardens and homes, I’ve had the feeling that every gardener but me always kept indoor displays, while I’ve left most of my hard-earned beauty outdoors.
Carol Pruitt, a gardener friend in Preston, Connecticut, for example, is consistent about bringing some of her garden indoors for herself and husband George. Carol, who has studied Ikebana and photography, and who has taught art, puts her exceptional talents to good use in every season.
Her reasoning on creating indoor displays centers on their bringing nature and art together, and, similar to potted plants, greening and coloring up the indoors: “They enrich our time spent inside, as expressive interpretations of nature.”
To be sure, in places with long, hard winters and hot, stormy summers, a little bit of the outside can help dispel that cooped-up feeling.
I asked Carol to send me the exquisite images below. I will use them for inspiration.
|Fresh From Carol's Garden, Iris With Hickory Branch|
|Japanese Maple 'Bloodgood', Daffodil, Dried Grass|
|White Bleeding Heart, Curving Over Quince Blossoms|