And you be wise, alert for inconsistencies and tolerant of them and of all other caprices of growth, you will find that the garden at its core is inexhaustible and sparks off by day and by night curious independent tangents, little trills and flourishes that are boundless in their possibilities and endless in their ability to woo, cajole, and astonish. The sunflower on the southeast corner of the Inner (formerly Secret) Garden, for example. I didn’t plant it.
I have never pruned the weeping pine that, year after year, has done its own merry topiary, at one time very definitely an Al Capp Shmoo, the year following an English sheepdog, and then the very same sheepdog but with puppies, and so on until this year, clearly something formidable but I don’t know which for it has gotten very large and, where it is, no room to step back and get an impression. So I leave it as one leaves a humming child bent on its own affairs no matter how strange or faraway.
In pocked London, during the blitz and immediately after, flowers grew not seen for hundreds of years, flowers lost in memory, the seeds of which retained viability that long. Who could have considered the Luftwaffe to be inadvertent gardeners!
I planted 100 Casa Blanca lilies in the aforementioned Inner Garden and, judging from the pink, picotee, sepia blooms what I put in was the growers’ grab bag, a farrago of flowers, awful on the page and in a sentence but an unplanned, unexpected boundary-stretcher wonderfully robust and welcome nonetheless and a scheme I just might employ elsewhere. It has certainly given my exquisite color sense a jolt. Something as amok and wise as a child with a brand-new box of crayons.
If you care to be observant, all growing matter is continually exhibiting aberrations of leaf, of blossom, and of given form. A leaf edge lower in chlorophyll just might, if plucked and rooted, become a plant with fabulous foliage. A branch may become suddenly pendulous from out of an ordinary bush and be the parent of a whole line of weepers. The flower out of season may commence a race of autumn bloomers.
The sunflower at my doorstep from where I do not know. A Russian sunflower calling up that wondrous Monet: doorway, sunflower, child. “The boy who runs with his eyes closed through a lovely garden is us” (Roberto Bolano).
A single seed is what we are, its DNA life itself and we are but variations on this theme, as uncountable as sand or stars, as invisible as odor.