"You should have seen it last week." "You should see it in October." "You should see it in April." I can't count the number of times I heard such declarations when I wrote newspaper gardening columns for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I'd assure gardeners I was visiting and writing about that I never wore white gloves to gardens, never inspected spaces the way army officers had inspected my lockers and equipment. That usually drew smiles and understanding that whatever condition a garden is in is the condition it's in; there's something notable about every garden, always a plant or feature or practice that helps you know the gardener who tills the space.
Now, years later, I make those same assurances to myself, as I enjoy another year of speeches – and visits to my garden, including one next week from a magazine photographer who is scheduled to make images for a piece I'm writing on pruning.
Timing's everything. Not too long ago, rain was bountiful, temperatures were comfortable for gardener and garden, and staying out was easy to do long hours of grooming and moving and planting.
Lately, however, Connecticut, like so much of America, has been suffering brutally hot weather (Friday's temperature of 103 was the highest ever recorded at Bradley International Airport, near Hartford). The heat has been punctuated only by occasional breezes that feel like camel's breath, rainless skies and humidity that keep you soggy after hours of weeding and watering. And, through it all, there are the mosquitoes and deer flies bent on eating me alive.
Not able to spend as much time as I'd planned to make my space "perfect," I'm tuning up my you-should-have-seen-it-last-month speech.
That recalls the time years ago when Better Homes and Gardens was here to photograph the garden, and I was whining about how much needed doing to make my garden look its best, how there'd been too much rain, how the photog and his camera should see it next month. The editor managing the production looked around, smiled and assured me: "Nothing to worry about; we have a magic camera."
If all goes well this week, the photographer from Living the Country Life will bring the magic camera.