Paying the Viking's Price

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Rebecca and gardening

There are times when only a comfort book will do. last night with the start of a cold was one of those times. I chose my old stand by favourite of Rebecca, a book I haven't read in several years but one I enjoy.
As I was reading the opening where the 2nd Mrs De Winter is wndering through Manderley again, I was struck by the fact that I knew that sort of garden. In fact my garden was once that sort. When we first looked at this house, I thought this garden was loved once.
As I was reading, I began to wonder how much of an influence the description about Manderley's garden or the garden in The Secret Garden or the garden at Green Knowe or the garden in The White Horse had.
I love gardens with character. Where you can see the love and attention was fostered. Old gardens with hidden nooks and crannies, old walls festooned with ivy and yews and hollies trimmed in fantastic shapes.
Plants can add so much character to a novel. The gnarled oak, the first daffodils, the green returning after the snow. Or even the blackned fingers of a long dead tree sticking straight up against the grey sky.
My current garden is 8 years into a 25 year reclamination project. It is all my favourite garden landscapes roll into one. There are times I have dispaired and others I have rejoiced as a single shoot grows on a tree I thought long dead.
When we first moved here, the area that is now the bee garden was dominated by a large and ugly evergreen.
"I never went down there" the ex-gardener said. "It's not the sort of place you go. She (referring to the old owner who went mad) said it was kept for the birds and to be disturbed."
When I started to cut the shrub down, the AGA which was solid fuel at the time went out. It was the first and only time I burnt myself on the AGA as I struggled to get it relit. I then went and finished clearing away.The AGA again went out and the children swore a great rushing noise went through the house as I cut the last branch from the stump. I always wondered but the children did seem to sleep easier after that.

1 comment:

Kate Hardy said...

Michelle, I really hope you're going to use that as a springboard for a book - it certainly set a lightbulb pinging for me! (Mind you, I've been swapping true ghost stories with Kate W and her DH, so... I'm in that frame of mind.) I also hope you're going to post piccies of your garden here because it sounds so interesting!