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by Jane Hockaday, Library Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

“Ah, yet, ere I descend to the grave
May I a small house and large garden have!
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too!”

from The Wish

by Abraham Cowely
The Gardener’s Book of Verse: Poems for Five Seasons (available for perusal or loan in the Garden Library)

The above quote perfectly defines one of my dearest, long-held wishes. The only other things I include in this dream are comfortable chairs in a shady spot or three in my garden to read the books and commune with family and friends… and music, soft music, as a background to the birdsong I also hope will be in my garden.

Even though I’ve never had a garden to call my own, I’ve enjoyed purchasing plants for my family. The first day-long Lewis Ginter “Rare Plant” sale was held in September of 1986,  with plants propagated by Garden staff and volunteers.  The Garden now hosts both a Spring Plant Sale and a Fall Plant Sale.  Several years ago (12, at least) I went to one of the sales in hopes of finding something for my daughter to add to a plot she and her family were starting at their new home. All the plants were lovely, but one caught my eye. It had fresh green leaves and just one 4-foot-tall woody stem topped with a single bright-yellow daisy-like bloom. The stem was bent over at the top as if the weight of the bloom were too much to bear. The plant seemed to be a spring version of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Love at first sight! I bought the plant and took it to my daughter. It was lovingly planted and tended that year. It even acquired its own mascot… a small spider the exact yellow of the the bloom with just a couple dots of black on its back. At the end of the season, after the plant had died back, my daughter cut it to the ground. The following season, when I went to visit and admire the growing plot, a tall, full bush covered with yellow blooms greeted me. It was no longer a one-stem wonder! The plant returned and thrived every spring. I was never able to identify it (we named it Charlie) but it gave us years of pleasure.

If your dream is to add to your garden, a chance to purchase beautiful plants for your landscape is near.The Spring Plant Sale will be held at the end of this month, Thursday, April 29-Saturday, May 1. Plants attuned to our area climate will available for purchase, provided by vendors, volunteers and Garden members. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to choose and purchase more beauty for your surroundings. I’m sure there will be at least one treasure waiting there for you to discover.

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2 Responses to “Leaves from the Library: Beauty for Sale”

  1. Frank Reid says:

    Jane – nice post. I liked the description of your ideal garden/reading/communing place.

    Here’s a question from out of left field: Would you be the same Jane Hockaday that knows my parents, Frank and Johann Reid? It would truly be a small world if I ran into you like this (from a post on Twitter).

  2. If ‘Suburban Apartments’ rings a bell, I be she. And if you be you, you were the cutest thing!

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