The story of one gardener

gardener tradition and the individual talent

The gardener’s whole world was this garden — an immeasurable space that would always bear her something new, something she would need to add to the myriad of flora and fauna already on her list.

She wasn’t the first gardener here; there were many great gardeners before her and there would be better ones after she leaves. She went from fervent excitement to fear of sending the garden into ruins but she always showed up in her Hunter Wellingtons and shorts, working her way cautiously through the earth that had roots as old as time.

She would mumble to the peonies and their layer upon layer of intricately drawn petals and she would remove anything blown by the wind from the shrubs, with their bare stance which had enough life to prove to be a striking image. She would stop by the tulips and observe how they still stand erect despite time having gone by and lie next to the clusters of begonias.

gardener tradition and the individual talent

She could see that most of the gardeners that worked before her created worlds of scents and sights that would never die, so she felt impelled to work closely with what was already in the garden. She would look at where the tulips were grown; how the rose bushes were trimmed and where the trees belonged. She insisted on understanding and learning everything about the garden before she dared grow anything herself.

In the beginning, she thought the rose bushes looked flawless and the begonias belonged in clusters but through time, she started making small remarks to herself, noting how the begonias could also be taken apart and become something else.

Time would pass before she would ever get through the garden and find her own niche here. She would always feel that she has not reached the level of work of the gardeners before her, but then, the next gardener will feel so as well, when he sees her work.

Story credits: T.S. Eliot’s Tradition and the Individual Talent; Vogue Italia.

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2 Responses to The story of one gardener

  • “And the bird called, in response to
    The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
    And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
    Had the look of flowers that are looked at.”

    TS Eliot, “Burnt Norton”

  • Nicely put. I’d imagine Eliot telling the gardener, “Hurry up please it’s time, hurry up please it’s time.” All in all though, despite having defined April as “the cruellest month” it really is not when Eliot’s poetry and critical essays still hold the strong voice of Modernism.

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