THE SARTORIALLY CORRECT GARDENER



Homemade garden smock.

Dante Gabriel Rosseti’s take on the gardening smock.

A small sample of homegrown snow peas and strawberries.

The translucent petals of a trumpet lily glow in the light of a late summer afternoon.

THE SARTORIALLY CORRECT GARDENER
It is neither Pierre Deux, Souleiado, Anthropologie or Smith and Hawkens. It is just a homemade gardening smock made from cotton fabric bought at a factory outlet. Total cost of the fabric was something like five dollars and the ribbon used for the straps cost twenty five cents. Wearing it does not transform one into neither Vita-Sackville West nor Tasha Tudor. At the most, it bears an unintentional resemblance to a servant’s smock in in a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
By unintentional I mean that I did not use a pattern. Not using the pattern means that I ended up with armholes that were considerably larger than what I had in mind, originally.
No matter. The correct attire for a gardener is a matter of taste. Cotton denim and corduroy make good trousers and aprons. The lighter muslin and chambray are good choices for summer shirts and dresses. My homemade smoke is a bit frivolous. After two hours weeding a muddy border will reduce it to a rag suitable for floor mopping. The ribbon is a mistake. It should be sturdy grosgrain, but all I had on hand was this shiny satiny length. That can be corrected later.
For the moment my job is to harvest lilies–a very PreRaphaelite activity–berries and peas. It is way too hot to fight creeping charlie, lamb’s quarters and the dratted trees of heaven.
The yellow boots are excessive. There has been no rain for at least a week and the rain barrel is nearly empty. Plain old clogs work just fine in this dry weather.
Hats are a necessity. No question about that. My heart lusts for Borsalino’s Pantropic Montecristi Optimo, but a hat like that requires that one hire a servant to tend it, as the Roman pedisequi tended the sandals of their masters during a banquet. No, this smock calls for something a bit more egalitarian–the conical Vietnamese Non La the Infanta bought at Washington DC’s Chinatown, for example. A small Souleiado scarf is permitted , but dollar fifty bandannas from the discount store are best. Gardening is not an activity that calls for status symbols unless your are a disgustingly wealthy type, in which case, I I intend to come to your garden and sing Ca Ira at the top of my lungs. make your own dress, though, and all is forgiven.

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