I’m in the midst of a project that needs to be done by this weekend. Part of it involves sorting through garden and floral photos, which only exacerbates my hunger for spring. As I was searching my photo files, I remembered a book I like to revisit, The Invisible Garden by Dorothy Sucher. I knew right where it was on the bookshelf and needed a break, so, over I went, up I reached, and then I was was lost for a while in Sucher’s stories of her trials and tribulations, her joys and delights, as she takes up gardening in an old, blue farmhouse she and her husband buy in Vermont and live in part of the year.
The book is a charming collection of essays about the people and plants she meets; the pond and the woods and the spring on the property, the daffodils and the lady slippers. The essays stand alone, but, together form such a delightful journey through the seasons of the year and the seasons of life it would be a shame not to read it at least once in your lifetime.
The Invisible Garden is illustrated with the woodcuts of Vermont artist Mary Azarian, who you might know from children’s books she has illustrated. This illustration is from the frontispiece of The Invisible Garden.
Dorothy Sucher’s words are like sitting with an old friend. Sometimes we spend a long time with old friends. Sometimes, we just sit for a spell. I read through a bit, then went to a paragraph I remembered that calls to me at this particular season of my life. I hope you won’t mind if I share it here with you. It is from the last chapter, The Spring. I wish I could share the whole book with you now, wherever you are, as we drift slowly into new seasons.
” . . . Lately I seem to find myself wondering if it isn’t time for me to stop making gardens. Maybe I should even start cutting back on the ones I already have. This seems a reasonable idea at my age, for weight keeps creeping up on me, and I tire more easily that I used to. But when the ground begins to thaw and the smell of spring fills the air, I want to get my hands dirty. I feel that I still have a few gardens left in me. I might as well keep making them as long as I can. “