Waking in the Garden

I thought each plant remembered me.
Each spike of spiderwort’s first blade,
Each thrust of lily pushing loam,
Each promise of stargazing pink and scent
Piercing the friable flowerbed earth,
Each potted bulb awakened,
Shoving soil aside to stretch above its container
Promising explosion.

I thought each plant remembered me,
Each tender prod of leaf and stem,
Each promise of white crowns of phlox
Unfolding beyond last year’s borders,
Each potted clump nuzzling its rim,
(Terra cotta can barely contain it)
Promising heads of white circlets.

I thought each shrub remembered me,
Each soft-tipped branch that deer so love,
(But misted to all deer’s distaste)
Each promise of hydrangea’s blue
With heads so heavy some need stakes,
Stems, soil and branches hid from view,
Vowing us mopheads made of sky.

I thought each plant remembered me.
Last year’s romance was so intense,
So full of pride and promises
Each bulb, each root, was tendered care
To the extreme when autumn came.
When spring awoke, and I did too,
they bloomed.  Each plant remembered me.

Marguerite Beck-Rex © 2013


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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