Not so secret gardening #2

As Ms. Biomass and the Secret Gardeners class of Vermont College of the Fine Arts know, mucking around in an artistic project and mucking around in one’s yard can feel amazingly similar.  I’ve been exploring some of the connections in my blog,  Today, I’m thinking about roots.

May 22 (8)I was live-and-let- live about weeds for the most part when I moved into this house almost two years ago.  After all, some of them are charming–like this one that reminds me of stories my sisters and I made up and acted out when we were kids, using yellow “people” like that one as our star players.

I liked dandelions, too.  Until they stomped into the yard and sat down and started passing the party around.  This spring, between reading and commenting on student packets and sweating out my own novel revision, I dug in.  Literally.

Yes, I knew that unless I got down to the tip (which I rarely did), the dandelion would grow back.  All I needed to know was that I was chilling that party out for a bit.  And as spring unfolded, I got more and more interested in looking at dandelion roots–and the roots of ivy and bindweed and other bully weeds I was tackling.  If you don’t tackle some weeds, their roots can soon look like this.

DSC04330That’s pokeweed.  (Every speck of root left in the ground can grow into a new plant.  Talk about biomass!)

I’m the first to say I want to learn how to write a novel more quickly.  This one–which will come out in September–has taken me four years.

Anna+was+HereBut it’s hard to grow a root that goes down deep and straight and strong and that supports the rest of the plant.  (Even a lot of dandelions don’t manage it.)  Sometimes, it simply takes time and a lot of poking in the soil this way and that, always listening for pulses of sunlight and the heartbeats of worms.





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6 responses to “Not so secret gardening #2

  1. skvanzandt

    It sounds like a great book, Jane! I love the cover!!

  2. Love the cover, Jane. I can’t wait to get this book. (I was going to make some sort of gardening pun like “cultivate,” but it just didn’t work. But since I’m a Secret Gardener, well, this is a must-have!

  3. Thanks, Linda. I can’t believe that I now know what a “cultivar” is and understand (a teeny bit) the discussion about whether planting a native is the same thing as planting a cultivar of that native. Wowee. Look for more gardening getting into my NEXT book :>

  4. Karen Ripley

    “Pulses of sunlight and the heartbeats of worms,” oh that is so gorgeous. You make me want to get outside and dig, and try again for raspberries, even though we’ve failed three times so far. I can’t wait to read about Anna. The cover is delightful!

  5. You really know your stuff… Keep up the good work!

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