Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Is My Sister’s Garden?

                                                     What Is My Sister's Garden?
By Christine Clark

My Sister's Garden is the name I chose for my Groton, Massachusetts, gardens in December 1998. Earlier that year, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and sage had flourished in my summer garden. I cut armfuls of herbs, tied the stems together, and hung them upside-down to dry in the cool, dark basement. As fall approached, I knew my abundant supply of herbs would flavor my cooking and baking throughout the winter months.
Christmas season neared and as I surveyed my bounty of dried herbs, I knew I had more than I would ever use, so I decided to give herbs as gifts. I planned to meet my sisters in New Jersey during the holidays and I thought the herbs would be unique presents. I bought small, decorative jars and bottles with to package them. Once in the pretty jars, the herbs looked a bit plain and dark, and although a trained eye and keen sense of smell can distinguish most dried herbs, I decided it would be best to add labels. I used a calligraphy pen to write the names on parchment paper labels and attached them to the lids with raffia. The herbs looked so lovely, I envisioned a conversation in which someone saw the bottled herbs and asked my sisters where they got them. I imagined the following reply: “My sister’s garden.” Perfect! I redid the labels, noting that the basil, lemon balm, and other herbs were “from My Sister’s Garden, Groton, Massachusetts.”
A few years later, when I named my editorial business, I also used My Sister's Garden. I like the way the name sounds—welcoming, a place of calm and beautiful growing things. In a flash of creative inspiration, I painted an old piece of wood with blue, red, and yellow flowers, added the words “My Sister's Garden, Welcome”, and hung the sign next to my door. When I moved to Florida, the sign came with me and sits near the doorway to my Florida home.
What is My Sister's Garden? Like myself, and my new life, My Sister's Garden is developing and growing. I want it to be a place of comfort, joy, learning, inspiration, art, and spirit. Here at My Sister's Garden, I am growing a life. That life includes family, God, flowerbeds and herb gardens, trees and shrubs, fresh baked bread, words written from the heart and shared, failure and success, retreat and progress. My Sister's Garden also has perspiration and inspiration, anger and acceptance, loss and gain. My Sister's Garden in Groton, Massachusetts was (and is) a cottage garden, defined in Wikipedia as: “a distinct style of garden that uses an informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, the cottage garden depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure”. Flowers in my Massachusetts garden still grow in a rather riotous fashion. Each spring and summer there, I was excited to discover what flower would poke it’s nose up from the Earth and which flowers and herbs would germinate from the seeds I let the winds scatter. Of course, there are some flowerbeds and garden plots that have order—places that allow no stray plants or weeds to establish a foothold. Like those gardens, My Sister's Garden has and will have areas of order and places where things just come up on their own, because that is how life happens everywhere, and especially here—in My Sister's Garden.

Cottage garden definition from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottage_garden

No comments:

Post a Comment