Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Got Francis?

We are generally indifferent gardeners here at the Sippican Cottage. We’re not good at it, but we try, as with so many things in life. But we wisely do not try to sled uphill anymore. We take what nature will give us, and plant the things that are likely to pan out despite our lack of ministrations, or perhaps more accurately because of them. We’ve killed a lot of plants learning how.

I see our neighbors at war with the landscape, as so many people are when they tend to their lawns and gardens. They seem to have a sort of vestigal farmer tail that makes them crave straight lines and flat things where none are needed. I understand parterres and so forth, and enjoy them in formal settings in the country or a little urban dooryard, but if you live out in the suburbs, or even further out, a fetish for that sort of severe neatness –a sort of craving for landscaping linoleum– is bizarre and incongruous.

The deer disabuse us of of any idea of planting things of value out in the landscape that will strike them as a sort of salad bar. We take the curse from the join of our house to the ground with the usual easy shrubs and perrenials, now nicely grown and needing only tending, not intensive care. And way out in the landscape, as far as you can go before is gets too wild, we placed St.Francis to stand at the edge of our wilderness and cast his blessing before and behind.

Our little son has gotten it into his own head to go each outdoor day to the edge of his world and put an offering in Francis’ bowl. He has nothing, so he finds what he needs in nature to give it back.

As do we.

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