Sunday, 26 June 2011

Abruzzo Diary of a Country Lady - Part 2: Voltaire & Wild Gardens

This view from home formed the basis of my recent "unplugged" lesson here.

A growing squadron of toads in pots, chickens crowing ever more heartily and fluffy kittens up olive trees is all part and parcel of the country jetset lifestyle. All slugs and snails have miraculously disappeared since I last wrote on this topic in Part 1, and I guess it's all due to these lovely creatures below, one of whom is seen squatting comfortably in my prized pots.

An image-edited photo of mum Samantha and kitten in the garden.

Wild Nature versus The Internet
The pull of nature or the pull of the Internet? These are things I have been thinking of recently. It's difficult to manage the two together as I can't be in two places at once. The more work I take on online, the less time I can devote to trying to keep the vegetable plot in order and tame the weeds that threaten to engulf the plot. This leads me to the next paragraph, where the eminent French gentleman below has a lot to answer for...

Il Faut Cultiver Votre Jardin
Voltaire famously wote these words in his mordant satire called Candide. I read this for my French degree and it made me realise that yes, it's true. A wild garden reveals a lot about the owners. You really have to "cultivate your garden" in the most basic sense of the words.

As I write the strimmer is whirring away in the distance. K valiantly and single-handedly trying to keep the ever growing jungle in check. The state of the garden is a constant topic of household conversation. Voltaire's words keep ringing in my ears. Why do these simple words have so much resonance after 32 years since I last read Candide??

"You have to cultivate your garden". If you don't cultivate your garden, it will become unruly and unmanageable. If it becomes wild and untameable, it will dominate your thoughts. If it dominates your thoughts, it will affect your life. If it affects your life, things will stand still. If things stand still, you are lost or doomed.

I guess that's the pretty hard-hitting message that I imagine is contained in these few simple words. So, what to do? Maybe this gentleman will have the answer?

Before I sign off to cultivate my garden, I'd just like to point out this great quote by Thoreau I found on this very interesting blog post simply called "Cultivate your garden". It's a good quote for discussion, don't you think? I'm not sure I agree with it entirely, though.

Anyone care to make a comment?

"In wildness is the preservation of the world."
You might also like to read this fantastic guest post by Eric Kane on Teaching Village blog, called "Proactive Discipline - Tend to your Garden". I love the gardening analogy!

Kittens in Olive Tree
Below is a short video of 3 of the kittens playing happily, freely and fearlessly amongst the olive tree branches high up. This video was taken this morning in the garden.


David Warr said...

Fantastic. I'd love to live in the country like you. As my friend said recently, he's a successful computer engineer, satellite systems and all that, so he knows his technology, but doesn't tweet or facebook or anything like that, people write things like "have just left tending the garden to come and tweet that have just left tending the garden". Get back in the garden! And more kitten videos pleeeeease!

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi David

Lovely to see you here! Thanks for your comment re getting back into the garden. I will do asap :-)

Apologies re delay in commenting, but I don't get notified when comments are posted anymore, so I must keep checking the Comments section.

We now only have 1 adorable and mischievous kitten left, called "Fluffy", as she is indeed rather fluffy. She has settled down very well to the outdoor life and is giving the chickens a bit of excitement by chasing them.

Will try to upload another video when I can! Must get back into the veggie plotsoon to continue de-weeding. It's very therapeutic, I must say!!

Take care