Girl with a Watering Can by Pierre Auguste Renoir

There are small tomato, pepper and broccoli plants sitting in a box in front of my sliding glass door. In addition to several dozen marigolds, they are waiting for my mother to come by and take them (along with lots of good advice) to one of my nieces, who lives in New Jersey. I received them up from my sister last week and now am anxiously hovering over them, lest they die on my watch.

When my mom returns for a few days, we'll be digging up a part of the side yard to make a perennial garden. The thought of finding and owning foxglove, bleeding hearts, lupine, columbine and irises again makes me almost giddy! Back in the days when I had a larger plot of lawn, I dug (well, my husband dug) a good bit of it up into garden. But now that I have a smaller area, and not a lot of sun, I have to content myself with flowers, which is like saying I have to be happy with only dessert.

There's nothing like getting dirt under one's fingers during the spring. Edgar Guest, whose poems I've posted here and here, offers gardening as a tonic for what ails you. All the drama you could ever want, (take that, you aphids!) and more...

Plant a Garden
Edgar House

If your purse no longer bulges
and you've lost your golden treasure,
If at times you think you're lonely
and have hungry grown for pleasure, 
Don't sit by your hearth and grumble,
don't let mind and spirit harden.
If it's thrills of joy you wish for
get to work and plant a garden!
If it's drama that you sigh for,          
plant a garden and you'll get it
You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it.
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.

If it's comradeship you sigh for,          
learn the fellowship of daisies.
You will come to know your neighbor
 by the blossoms that he raises;
 If you'd get away from boredom
 and find new delights to look for,       
Learn the joy of budding pansies
which you've kept a special nook for.

If you ever think of dying and you
fear to wake tomorrow
Plant a garden! It will cure you          
of your melancholy sorrow
Once you've learned to know peonies,    
petunias, and roses,
You will find every morning         
some new happiness discloses.