Have you ever read this book?
The Czech author, Karel Capek, was a passionate amateur gardener who composed this book in 1929 as a testament to the gardener's inextinguishable devotion to his plot of cultivated earth. It is both whimsical and earnest in it's description of the gardener's obsessions:
"I will now tell you how to recognize a real gardener. 'You must come to see me,' he says: 'I will show you my garden.' Then, when you go just to please him, you will find him with his rump sticking up somewhere among the perennials. 'I will come in a moment,' he shouts to you over his shoulder. 'Just wait till I have planted this rose.' 'Please don't worry,' you say kindly to him. After a while he must have planted it; for he gets up, makes your hand dirty, and beaming with hospitality he says: 'Come and have a look; it's a small garden, but - Wait a moment,' and he bends over a bed to weed some tiny grass. [...] A quarter of an hour later he straightens up again, 'Ah,' he says, 'I wanted to show you that bell flower, Campanula Wilsonae. This is the best campanula which - Wait a moment, I must tie up this delphinium.' After that you go away on tiptoe, leaving his behind sticking up among the perennials. (pp.7-8)
Capek's book follows the gardener's state of mind (which rarely strays far from his little plot)during the course of a year. It is also a book about the gardener's love affair with the earth which, the author explains, comes with a certain maturity:
"While I was only a remote and distracted onlooker of the accomplished work of gardens, I considered gardeners to be beings of a peculiarly poetic and gentle mind, who cultivate perfumes of flowers listening to the birds singing. Now when I look at the affair more closely, I find that a real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil." (p. 23)
The Gardener's Year is not a moral allegory yet Capek's experience as a gardener taught him a basic principle: 'you must give more to the soil than you take away'. (p. 88) It is a beautiful book - full of witty illustrations - by an author who relished the human comedy he found in the garden.
Both the above books contain my youngest daughter's two names: Angélique and Rose. Between the two there is a Breton name squeezed in - Aëlig - which means 'Angel' too. Let's be honest; it will be hard for her to live up to a double angel name but when you have a Breton husband there must be a Breton name!
This week I finished the Cardigan Rose which was destined for Angélique. I wanted to choose a flower name for it from all the beautiful options offered up to me by poetic souls in Blogland: daisy, greeny-cream hydrangeas, lady's mantle, foxgloves, buttercup, apple blossom, alchemilla... Yes, yes, my equally poetic soul cried out to each and every one. How is a girl supposed to choose?
There was one more flower suggested by Annie. Angelica. Well, yes. Although I flirted with the other names my mind was made up.
And so here is Cardigan Angelica
Again I fiddled and flirted with various mother of pearl buttons - stalk and leaf green, creamy-coloured - but I opted for a similar colour to the yarn. 'Ah yes', nodded my husband wisely when he saw my choice, 'it makes the cardigan look classic', he added. 'Um, NO!' I thought.
knocking back sipping some chilled Limoncello I hastily sewed on some sequins which represent the seeds from the Angelica plant - how pretentious of me, I know ;-).
This cardigan is not flawless. If the truth be told I had to frog it halfway through as it was knitting up too big and while it is good to plan for the future I really wanted Angélique to wear it this summer.
Judging from the rainy weather we are all having it will come in handy, I think.
I hope you like it. Thank you Annie. If any of you are not familiar with her beautiful blog please take a peek. As for the other flower names, well, I'll just have to make up some other knitted creations. Goodness knows I need the practice!
Have a beautiful week.