The Garden Year



By Vita Sackville-West


January 1, 1950


Some generous friend may have given you a plant-token for Christmas, and you may be wondering, how best to expend it. A plant-token is a real gift from heaven; it represents an extravagance one might hesitate to commit for oneself; a luxury, an extra, a treat. One has no alternative, for, unlike a cheque, one cannot virtuously put it to the reduction of one's overdraft. There is nothing to be done with it except to buy a plant.

Read more: January



By Vita Sackville-West


February 1948


It is agreeable sometimes to turn for a change from dutifully practical aspects of gardening to the consideration of something strange, whether we can hope to grow it for ourselves or not. A wet January evening seems just the time such an indulgence of dreams, and in an instant I found my room (which hitherto had boasted only a few modest bulbs in bowls) filling up with flowers of the queerest colours, shapes, and habits. The first batch to appear thus miraculously conjured out of the air, were all of that peculiar blue-green which one observes in verdigris on an old copper, in a peacock's feather, on the back of a beetle, or in the sea where the shallows meet the deep.

Read more: February




By Vita Sackville-West




A pot of cyclamen is a favorite Christmas present, and very nice, too, but by this time (March) some recipients may be wondering what to do with it. Don't throw it away. It will repeat its beauty for you year after year if you treat it right.

Read more: March



By Vita Sackville-West


April 6, 1947


I must start with a warning not to despair about plants apparently killed by the frosts, ice-rain, east winds, and other afflictions they have had to suffer. They may look dead now, but their powers of revival are astonishing. You may have to cut some shrubs down to ground level, but my recommendation would be not to dig anything up rashly until you are quite, quite certain that it has no intention of putting out green shoots again. This certitude may not come until the summer is well advanced. I remember the agreeable surprises we got after the cruel winter of 1940.

Read more: April

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