On a Patio Where Plants Have Been Potted

On a patio where plants have been potted

the smell of loam lingers.

Just as the odor of the day’s

fresh-plowed earth

rises in night-steam.

Just as gardeners,

feverishly sniffing

for the tang of loam,

covet plants

in winter catalogs.

Pampered in hothouses or

plastic-tunneled fields.

these photographed plants

must wait to travel.

In already tended patio pots

bulbs hidden in autumn’s loam

finally pierce and bloom.

Perennials winter over,

leaf and bud.

Annuals tuck in

at their feet.

Catalog plants are different,

potted lightly in plastic cups,

secure in air pillows, wrappings,

tape and cardboard.

Shipped by airfreight,

they arrive

longing for loam.

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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One Response to On a Patio Where Plants Have Been Potted

  1. Hank Wallace, J.D. says:

    Plants in literal hothouses; the pampering of people in figurative hothouses; back to plants “Pampered in [literal] hothouses.”

    And the pampered plants are “*photographed* plants,” for yet another level of being for us readers to enjoy.

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