Gardening Magazine

This Lime Tree Bower My Prison

By Gardenamateur

What a dramatic title for a simple little gardening blog posting. It's actually the name of a  poem written in 1797 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of my favorite poets (he of the 'Rime of The Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan' fame).

What brought me to think of poor old Sam, after all these years, is the sad, simple fact that I, too, am a bit of prisoner at the moment (and I have a lime tree too in my prison, admittedly a Tahitian lime, while Sam's northern English lime is a linden tree, but we're soul bothers across the centuries and continents all the same). 

Back in 1797 Samuel was a temporary invalid. Apparently, his wife had accidentally spilt a saucepan full of hot milk onto his foot (must have hurt like hell!) and so he was not able to join his other literary friends (several in the party, but notably William Wordsworth and Charles Lamb) on a lovely long walk through the Lakes District of England. Here's a link to the poem's text, if you're a poetry person. 

My comparison to the spilt-milk story is more bleary eyed, and at times mildly painful, but  it's nothing like a scalded foot. I have been afflicted with conjunctivitis, that bacterial infection of the eyes which immediately made me look like an extra from a zombie movie. For me that means not much computer, nor books, nor magazines, nor reading. The only thing left for me to do was complete all those gardening jobs which didn't require great eyesight but did need a gardener to get the job done. Time for a photo, a panorama no less, here in November 2016.

This Lime Tree Bower my Prison

Now, this might look to you like a fairly well organised Sydney garden in early spring mode, with lots of baby vegies barely making an impression yet and the rest enjoying the weather. I can tell you right now that this is a terrible scene of neglect, lethargy, procrastination and dithering. A disgrace! But not any more it isn't. "Conjunctivitis Boy" to the rescue. All our tame zombie can do right now is prune, trim, repot, fertilise and water. And that's what I've been doing. The garden is in much better nick at the end of this week than it was when my eyesight was good last weekend.However, at the end of each day, I have soothed myself with a nice evening glass of wine and a good sit down outdoors to contemplate "this lime tree bower my prison". What a nice way to end each day!Now, poor old Sam Coleridge had a sore foot, I had sore eyes, but both of us were grounded, imprisoned.My reading of his poem, based on my humble university BA course in Romantic Poetry which I did in 1973, is vastly different from the contemporary stuff I looked up online to refresh my 40-year-old memory. Today's reading of his poem seems mostly psychiatric, rather than poetic, and I think they miss the point entirely ...In my understanding of this poem, Sam at first imagined the glories of nature in the vast wide world through which his friends were wandering without him, but he soon came to realize that in his own, imprisoned microcosm of world, this lime tree bower which was his temporary mini universe, all the glories of nature were around him. All he had to do was look.And so it is with me. Though our garden is small, if you bother to look really closely, you can see enough of nature to keep you fascinated and amazed, forever. This is a theme I do return to again and again here at Garden Amateur, but right now I feel it so very strongly. I really could spend all of my life here and never cease to be fascinated.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog