If Nature looks to the ways of the wind when she plants, why should not we? A bed of the hardiest roses set on a hill crest is a folly. Much more likely would they be to thrive wholly on the north side of it. A garden set in a cut between hills that form a natural blowpipe can at best do no more than hold its own, without advancing.
But there are some things that belong to the never-never land and may not be done here. You may plant roses and carnations in the shade or in dry sea sand, but they will not thrive; you cannot keep upland lilies cheerful with their feet in wet clay; you cannot have a garden all the year in our northern latitudes, for nature does not; and you cannot afford to ignore the ways of the wind, for according as it is kind or cruel does it mean garden life or death!
“Men, they say, know many things;
But lo, they have taken wings,—
The arts and sciences,
And a thousand appliances;
The wind that blows
Is all that anybody knows.”
THE BOOK OF THE GARDEN, YOU, AND I
April 30. Gray dawn, into which father and Evan vanished with their fishing rods; then sunrise, curtained by a slant of rain, during which the birds sang on with undamped ardour, a catbird making his debut for the season as soloist.
It must not be thought that I was up and out at dawn. At twenty I did so frequently, at thirty sometimes, now at thirty-five I can do it perfectly well, if necessary, otherwise, save at the change of seasons, to keep in touch with earth and sky, I raise myself comfortably, elbow on pillow, and through the window scan garden, wild walk, and the old orchard at leisure, and then let my arm slip and the impression deepen through the magic of one more chance for dreams.
9 o’clock. The warm throb of spring in the earth, rising in a potent mist, sap pervaded and tangible, having a clinging, unctuous softness like the touch of unfolding beech leaves, lured me out to finish the transplanting of the pansies among the hardy roses, while the first brown thrasher, high in the bare top of an ash, eyes fixed on the sky, proclaimed with many turns and changes the exact spot where he did not intend to locate his nest. This is an early spring, of a truth.
Presently pale sunbeams thread the mist, gathering colour as they filter through the pollen-meshed catkins of the black birches; an oriole bugling in the Yulan magnolias below at the road-bend, fire amid snow; a high-hole laughing his courtship in the old orchard.