When: March 20, 2008 between 7-9 a.m.
Where: Memphis Botanical Garden in Memphis, Tennessee
Purpose: To photograph Floral Signs of Spring before the crowd appeared. I was allowed into the gardens as the sun rose slowly over the shadowy trees and the dew dripped from the glistening flower petals. It was a morning stroll among the Lord’s beauty I have not forgotten, especially meeting Major Tulip.
The following foreword is from Meditations on Garden Themes by Josephine Robertson. (Abingdon Press 1959) Josephine’s comparison between gardens and humanity expresses my own sentiments.
Strange how the beauty of gardens and their cultivation have, from the time of Genesis, symbolized human joys and struggles!
The child, serenely confident of the goodness of home and family, is one day confronted with death, tragedy, or betrayal. In that moment he leaves his personal Garden of Eden and learns that the world holds harsh experiences which he must face. He finds other gardens along the way, pleasure gardens of recreation, gardens of romance, cloistered gardens of reflections, seldom discovered wild gardens of alpine flowers high on forbidding mountains, gardens in which he must toil for sustenance. He may, some dark night, enter a garden of Gethsemane, but by keeping his faith, he can come out of the shadows to walk again along sunlit paths.
Why do gardens mean so much to man? Many reasons may be found in the writings of ancient philosophers, but for the do-it-yourself gardener of today, the reasons are rather simple. A garden represents an ideal and a goal, tantalizing because never quite attained; a garden is ever changing and ever challenging; it means cooperating with the mysterious and miraculous factor of growth; it is for many a place of peace. This pursuit induces certain qualities in gardeners, and we are apt to find them patient, reflective, kindly, absorbed in something other than self, and forward looking regardless of age.
As a hobbyist with camera, who enjoys nothing more than visiting unusual gardens and chatting with gardeners, I have come upon many stories of human significance. Furthermore, from the pages of fascinating old books, other gardeners have related high adventure—and introduced me to their friends. Because these experiences of present and past seem to hold more than surface interest, I have collected some in this book, with the hope that from the bright blossoms of these gardens might be distilled some essence of faith and refreshment for the spirit. ( Josephine Robertson)
The TulipI like Major Tulip. He seems to say to me, “I’m stationed here on dress parade— As smart as smart can be. My uniform is beautiful– I know what I am doing— I’m here to guard the garden plot If there is trouble brewing. Please leave me to my business Which is to toe the line, And if you’ll tend to your affairs— Why, I will tend to mine. Those Blooming Friends by L. Young Correthers
My spirit was and still is refreshed when I remember my date with Major Tulip and the bright blossoms of his floral friends at the Memphis Botanical Garden. For more Floral Signs of Spring images from that 2008 morning walk when the dew was fresh, go to www.corinthrose.com or click on Cheryl’s Photography.