JARS v50n2 - Commentary

Austin C. Kennell
Waynesboro, Virginia

The best garden? It's mine! That's right. My garden is the best. Absolutely! Positively! The very, very best!

No, I'm not claiming my garden is the most attractively landscaped nor the most meticulously groomed. The truth is it is not really landscaped at all and is seldom real nice and neat. If anything, it's plant-scaped.

My garden has too seasons. It's too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet. It's got too many varmints. It's too windy and too sunny. It takes too much work and too much money. But it's the greatest!

I've visited lots of gardens. The big ones, the small intimate ones and the well-known as well as the little known. I've toured the public showplaces and I enjoyed them, but I've never seen one I would swap for mine.

What makes my garden special? For starters, my garden doesn't have just any old plants. It has only plants you won't find anywhere else in the world. All my plants are one of a kind! There's the first rhodo I ever planted - and the last one. Many are "people plants" that are priceless reminders of old friends.

My garden is full of dreams and memories - of love and happiness, of disappointments and solitude. It has listened to my problems and plans. It has counseled and consoled me. It has taught me patience and understanding. In my garden I can hear the laughter and chatter of children. I can almost see their tear stains and feel little arms around my neck. Why, there's more good feeling per square inch in my garden than anywhere else on earth.

My garden is a wondrous, magical place. It has known the fun of Easter egg hunts, birthday parties and family reunions. It's hosted people from near and far. There's a rock one of my incomparable granddaughters gave me one Christmas many years ago. What a place! It is always changing but somehow always has that old-shoe comfort.

Maybe though it's really not a garden but just a couple of acres at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe so. I don't know nor care. Garden or just a country patch, it embodies a lifetime of happiness. It's the greatest. And it's mine!