Music-making baffles me. Sometimes, when no one's around, I'll sit down at said piano, arch my fingers and attempt a series of harmonious notes. Abysmal. No talent.
Ricki Grady understands me. She admits to a similar fantasy. Hers involves lengthy be-bopping with a band of like-minded jazz musicians. Unfortunately, like me, her musical DNA isn't all that polished.
But in gardening I have found an improvisional medium better suited to my talents. Jazzy compositions are no longer beyond me; they just get worked out by startling plant juxtapositions, rhythmic color repetitions, harmonic arrangements of light and shadow. Bingo. BeBop Gardening!
Being a fellow Oregonian brought me to Ricki's blog a few years ago. Her engaging prose made me a faithful visitor. Reading her absorbing and delightful book has sealed the deal. This girl is a kindred spirit, folks! Chapters include subjects we can all relate to, such as Networking, Composting, Wildlife, Botanical Latin, Designing and Buying Things, etc. But this is not your run-of-the-mill how-to. Ricki isn't bossy. She dishes modest nuggets of advice with ample explanation, honed from years of experience. And when you combine her experience with her writer's heart, the results are stories to enjoy: the wanderings of garden cats, the peril of a goldfish, ladybugs crawling all over the inside of a refrigerator, a grandson dancing with a squirrel and so much more.
No Ricki isn't bossy. But she is rebellious, eschewing the advice-laden gurus when their practices don't suit her. Her chapter on garden record-keeping runs parallel to my own hits and misses. As you read, like me, you'll often feel the twinge of familiarity and camaraderie. Of the many, many pages I have underlined and starred, I love this:
The world is full of rules and guidelines for garden design if you care about such things. It never hurts to read up on any subject, just so you will know what rules you are breaking.
Breaking rules is, after all, how most art happens. Anarchy in the garden is a harmless form of indulgence. As you go about your liberated way, trusting your instincts, your inner artist will begin to express itself, bringing you untold gratification. Just remember: there is no one "right way." The right way is your way.When you've finished the fall chorin' and you relegate yourself to inside tasks, might I suggest a little arm chair gardening with Ricki?
For more information, visit Ricki's blog or the publisher's website.
(Disclaimer: I am receiving much personal gratification but no monetary compensation for this post.)