PARADISES LOST, PARADISES FOUND


Fantin Latour’s Hydrangeas

Playwright John Guare told me not to ” a lumpen, my dear” when I asked him a question he did not like. Joyce Carol Oates was graciousness personified when she I interviewed her for a provincial newspaper. Two writers, two different stytles, two different approaches. I remember Guare’s cowboy boots more clearly than I remember the lecture he delivered at the local university, but i cannot forget the comment he addressed to one of the students in the audience whose mind he compared to worn out jockey shorts elastic. During one of her lecture, Oates contended courteously with the high pitched wailing of a baby whose parents thought he was old enough to begin his career as a culture vulture.

I realize that none of this has to do with gardening, cookery or art. It has to do with my new blog, http://www.richtexts.blogspot.com in which I will discuss writers and writing. I wait with baited breath to conclude an interview with Chandler Burr, whose title of perfume critic of the New York Times does him no justice. He is much more than that. See my new blog for details.
Meantime, the garden enters its slow phase. There is a second, more modest floraison of the heirloom roses. The rugosa Sir Thomas Lipton seems to have synchronized its blooming with the waxing moon. Pale daylilies, remnants of two subsequent plantings of White Flower Farm mixes and Klehm’s Song Sparrow farm specialties keep pace with lavender and china blue delphiniums. Bluestocking monarda thrusts its coarse blossoms among Seafoam roses. Casablanca lilies are in bud. Hydrangeas and nasturtiums compete in number of blooms.
In the vegetable garden all but half a dozen strawberry plants defy the voracious deer as do a few tomatoes, snow peas, okra–planted for the unsurpassed elegance of its flowers–summer squah and pumpkins. A terrifyingly repulsive worm has attacked the radishes and no doubt it will also devour the purple Dragon carrots. Season after growing season in the garden, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.
Thinking of ruined gardens, I pull Daphne du Marier’s Rebecca out of my bookshelf. It rereads marvelously well. I read recently, probably in Burr’s You or Someone Like You that “All paradises are paradises lost.” Max de Winter and the de Winter villainess in The Three Musqueteers’ each lost paradise due to the serpentine convolutions of adultery. In real gardens and in gardens of words, the more it changes, the more it remains the same.
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