My friend Kathryn O. Galbraith was recently presented with a Growing Good Kids 2012 award from the American Horticultural Society for Excellence in Children’s Literature. This book, beautifully illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin depicts the myriad of ways that we all, people, birds, and animals as well as the wind and the rain plant the beautiful and fruitful gardens that grow along the roadsides, riversides and meadows. I wrote about Kathryn and her book when it first came out here.
I am surrounded by wild gardens, in my fields and alongside my country roads. Kathryn lives in a much more populated area in Washington Sate, but you don’t need to live in a rural area to appreciate wild gardens.
When I asked her where this lovely idea came from she said, “I remember exactly where the seeds of this story began. I was at a writing workshop in one of our state parks. Every morning and evening I’d take a walk along its many paths. There I saw rabbits nibbling on grasses and goldfinches feeding on huge purple thistles. And woe be to you if you stepped off the path – there prickly, sticky weeds were just waiting to catch on your jeans and socks.
I wrote those images down in my notebook, but only several years later, when I went back to my notebook, looking for gold, did I see how all those images could be connected.”
We have acres of goldenrod in our field,
and even at this season of the year our ‘lawn’ is a flowery mead with ox eye daisies, black eyed susans and autumn dandelions. Christina Rosetti asked “Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I:. . . ” but here, just outside my door is evidence of all the beautiful places our Heath breezes have visited.
And inside the pages of Planting the Wild Garden you can join Kathryn, and Wendy, in a garden that we never planted, but that surrounds us where ever we go. We just have to keep our eyes open.