Friday, May 29, 2009

The Strange Hopefulness of Military Gardeners

This spring Kay and I have been busy with gardening projects. Growing things is Kay's raison d'etre, and I love her passion for all growing things (well, except for roses, which is a long story). One of the sacrifices Kay makes for my career (as she tells me, I joined, she didnt) is the fact that she will never see the things we plant grow to their maturity, since we will likely be posted out of Greenwood in a year or two, and so on for the rest of my career. So it is with most military families.

Here's one of our recent editions, a weeping Colorado spruce (Kay hasn't named him yet).

We're also breaking ground for a new garden and since our soil is so sandy, the plants will need all the help they can get:

And here are some of the plants waiting to go into the new garden bed:

As it happens, for my dose of junk fiction I recently finished John Winton's 1967 novel, HMS Leviathan, about a traditional naval officer who fins himself struggling with a changing service (John Winton was the pen name of LCmdr John Pratt, a Royal Navy engineer turned journalist and author, who died in 2001). I was taking a break from gardening one Sunday afternoon and this passage jumped out at me. The protagonist is visiting friends in naval married quaters at Portsmouth and is thinking about the transient nature of the people living in these houses.

"He had noticed the gardens, and had been struck by the care taken of them. A few had been roughly dug over, and no more, but most had been carefully and imaginatively tended as though the occupants had bought the house, There was something touching about the gardens. They had shrubs, planted by people who might never see them flower, and potatotes, which might be eaten by the next tennants, and roses, which may have been pruned by one and would be picked by the next." (John Wnton, HMS Leviathan, Sphere Books, 1967 p, 203).

A good tribute to the strange and persistent hopefulness of military gardners everywhere.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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