Remember when small town newspapers reported on everything that went on, including who might have gotten together to eat and play cards, who had out of town visitors, and who had just recently returned from a vacation?
Those sometimes fascinating and generally mundane items might take up two or three columns of the ‘society page’, depending on how big the town was and how much space the editor had to fill.
I suspect, too, that most of that information was already known by the neighbors before it made it into the paper, since not much goes on in a small town without every one knowing about it.
Well, if my garden was in a place with a small town newspaper, the following might appear on the society page this week because I’ve accepted the invitation of VP at Veg Plotting to host a dinner party with whomever I’d like to invite.
“Recently a dinner was held at the home of Carol, May Dreams Gardens, with several out of town guests including Elizabeth Lawrence, Charles Dudley Warner, James Underwood Crockett, W. Atlee Burpee, and Brother Cadfael of Shrewsbury Abbey.”
But such a small item wouldn’t even begin to tell the story of this dinner party!
Elizabeth Lawrence was the first to arrive and I was happy about that because I wanted her to tour the garden before dinner without being interrupted by what was sure to be some loud, boisterous discussions and arguments amongst the other guests. In particular, I wanted her input on the design of my garden and her help in identifying a few plants.
While I had the chance, I also asked her how she managed to keep up her correspondence with so many other gardeners from all areas of the country and all walks of life. And in private, I gushed a bit over her writings and thanked her profusely for her quote that was a big inspiration for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.
Shortly thereafter, Charles Dudley Warner arrived and we proceeded to commiserate on ‘pusley’ and how hoeing this particular weed is the last thing you want to do. We agreed it must be pulled and destroyed!
I also showed him my hoe collection, and he lamented that in this day an age, hoeing is not as popular as it once was. He surmised that a bit more time in a garden with a hoe would be good for everyone. In fact, his exact words were, “One gets strength out of the ground as often as one really touches it with a hoe.”
We would have discussed this in more detail, but just then James Underwood Crockett arrived. You all remember him from the original Victory Garden shows on PBS, don’t you? He spent quite a bit of time in my vegetable garden and gave me some tips on what I could do to make it so much better than it has been.
He also reminded me that I have many volumes of the Time-Life Encyclopedia of Gardening that he wrote and though these books are over thirty years old, they still contain a lot of good information.
We were interrupted a few times by Charles stating emphatically that most of the problems of the garden and society in general could be solved by everyone spending more time hoeing and tending a garden. We all agreed!
I was delighted at the positive response that everyone had to my fourth guest, W. Atlee Burpee. After he arrived, we all talked about seeds for quite some time and determined that sometimes the old varieties of flowers and vegetables are best but we shouldn’t just ignore some of the new hybrids, because they are good, too.
My final guest, Brother Cadfael was just a little bit late in arriving, having stopped along the way to check on a few clues that might help him solve his latest murder mystery, which ironically involved a rabbit in the garden.
I invited Brother Cadfael, an herbalist of the highest order and greatest reputation, because I’ve always wanted to learn more about herbs and how to use them, and I wanted his input on where to put an herb garden and what to plant in it.
After a fine dinner, Brother Cadfael entertained us all with stories from his life before he joined the brothers at the abbey, along with fascinating, but slightly gruesome, details of some of the recent murder mysteries he had solved.
All too soon, the hour grew late and all my guests had to leave. After they left, I closed the door softly behind them, resolving to have more dinner parties like this one.
I hope they had as good a time as I did and learned as much as I did.
I encourage everyone to have such dinners now and again, and especially today. Be sure and let VP know if you do!