I have been trying, and mostly failing, to grow wildflowers in my rocky, slug-filled backyard here in Queens. I am not a gardener; I’m indifferent to everything below cats on the food chain, as a general rule. You have to draw a line somewhere. But I work at home, a lot, and I wanted something pretty out there to look at. I have gotten only about halfway to that.
Increasingly I’ve been thinking that this pathetic “garden” is a metaphor for my life. I have some straggling snapdragons, cornflowers, sweet alyssum, forget-me-nots, California poppies, and clarkia, and then a giant herd of raging morning glory shoots busily climbing each other, going nowhere in particular. Oh, and weeds, lots of weeds. Which is why I’m not going to bother showing you a picture.
Someone owned this garden before me, and they put in these hydrangeas and hosta plants. I have learned all the names of these by googling their appearances, repeatedly. “large cluster purple flowers like impatiens,” for example. Some of the weeds I allowed to grow because I wasn’t sure if they were flowers or not; by the time I knew they were just excess greenery, the morning glories had woven around them protectively.
That self-indulgent introduction is by way of saying that when I was poking around the internet looking for seeds earlier this year, I came across Richard Brautigan’s small collection of poems published on seed packets. They’re quite lovely; have a look, here. My favorite is the “California Native Flowers” packet:
In this spring of 1968 with the last
third of the Twentieth Century
traveling like a dream toward its
end, it is the time to plant books,
to pass them into the ground, so that
flowers and vegetables may grow
from these pages.
The title, fittingly, was Please Plant This Book. Someone should do this for Letters In the Mail, I think.