Why I Garden

That’s probably a grammatically incorrect title, starting it with the word “why.”  Starting anything with the word “why.”

Or having truncated phrases with no correct subject-verb-object and treating them as sentences, for that matter. Gritting your teeth yet?

But I did want you to know why I garden.

It’s not like I need more things to do …

This is Petit Prince with his “april fish.” Poisson d’Avril is how the French do April Fool’s.  Nothing complicated, just stick some fish on your friend’s back. It didn’t lessen his brother and sister’s enjoyment any that he had no idea why the fish were there or even that they were there.

He’s reading Young Lady’s dictionary, by the way. She asked Sir to give her sentences with words she didn’t know so she could look them up in her dictionary.

And she’s trying to grow her bangs out to look like Sleeping Beauty.

Smart and pretty.

Oh, but I digress. The reason I garden is for the kids, of course. I want them to be out there enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, surrounded by green things.

Can you see how mesmerized they are by it all?

Alas, I am mostly reduced to sending them outside as a form of punishment when their taunts have reached a fever pitch.  They aren’t very tempted to go out on their own.

No, I garden for me. Because green things attracts birds and they sound so pretty when they chirp that I feel like Cinderella.  No, seriously. I feel just like Cinderella, and that’s before she is whisked off by her prince to France or something.

And I garden because I would feel too guilty to let it go after the fruit-bearing paradise was handed down to us in mint condition by the previous owners.

And then there are the pretty reasons, the row of tulips and lavender growing side by side (even if the black tulips are too tall and the white tulips too short since I didn’t think to check their length when I bought the bulbs).

And there are the new things that will take shape and become as if the garden was never without them. See where we finally put one of the tulip magnolias?

But mostly I garden because I don’t know how to say no to bare earth. I don’t know how to say no to anything. Except, perhaps, sensible diet and exercise.  (Why oh why did I eat all those cookies)?

Are you struck with this affliction?


I love to hear from you, friends. You can comment using the box below or your Facebook profile. But FB doesn't notify me of new comments, so if the post is more than a week old and you want to make sure I see your comment, it's better to use the comment box. Merci!

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Family, La Famille (The Family), Le Jardin (The Garden), The Garden, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
26 comments on “Why I Garden
  1. I have never gardened in my life but for some reason, am dying to have a vegetable patch. Something about growing my own vegetables is strangely appealing. Alas, living in an apartment does not allow for a vegetable patch.

    I had a post title started with Why and immediately after publishing it, thought, ah the grammar police will be after me!

  2. Stephanie says:

    The affliction of not being able to say no to cookies or the affliction of gardening? :)

    I never say no to a cookie, so in answer to that question, yes I am struck.

    This will be our first summer gardening. I will get back to you with that answer later!

  3. OpinionsToGo says:

    Another beautiful AND informative post. I think that you are that person that truly makes everything beautiful!
    I don’t know how to say no to bare earth…a great line!

  4. Lia says:

    “Why I Write” by George Orwell
    “Why I Write” by Joan Didion
    “Why Law is Indispensible” by George Bernard Shaw…
    …. these are just the titles I was able to come up with in a 3-minute Google search. So you are in good company, my friend. Also, I think rows of tulips that are all the same height are boring. Voila!

    • ladyjennie says:

      You’re right about the title, but it sounded funny to my ears. I also saw another book called “Why Cats Paint.” I think it’s a comedy.

  5. Kimberly says:

    My Canadian squirrels at my tulip bulbs.
    Gardening to me is very theraputic.
    I love it.
    Minus the dirt that gets stuck in my nails.

  6. Your gardening makes me hopeful.

    I’m not sure why, since I surely can say No to bare earth myself.

    But this place is like a garden; the seeds are your words; the sentences are branches; the trees and flowering plants are your stories.


    That’s the kind of garden I cannot refuse.

  7. I’m a rookie gardener and am aching for the day when we can get our kitchen garden going once the frosts pass.

    Really, though, you’ve got me thinking about sticking some fish on your friend’s back. How lovely. And I adore that picture of Petit Prince lying there in all his innocent glory with a paper fish stuck to his back.

  8. Why I do not garden – I’m deathly afraid of worms. I point to the ground in my flower gardens and say to my husband “dig hole there” and “pull weeds here” and then I run for fear of the worms jumping out of the soil.

    Rainy days I have to stay inside.

  9. Jenni Chiu says:

    I love your garden! I don’t have a patch of earth to call my own, but have been dreaming of one day gardening. I’d like to grow something other than babies. :)

  10. Jackie says:

    I love the end result and I do like planting and tending my gardens but I hate the weeds! It seems like no matter what I do they’re always there!

  11. Jessica says:

    I really, really want to get into gardening and get my kids involved. Whether it happens or not is another story. Also? I want to live where you live. Every time I visit your home looks like the perfect place to be.

  12. And THIS is one of the drastic things I’m thinking about starting to do to help my kids think more about healthy stuff! Garden with them – to bring it all a little closer to home, you know? Love this,Jennie!

  13. So if you feel like Cinderella, are you growing your bangs out too? 😉 I love to garden! THe only sad part of moving to Vermont after having lived in Pennsylvania for so long was that I had to leave my beloved gardens that were finally mature. Roses pouring over the front porch, clematis in the back and a HUGE rhubarb plant, Plus lots and lots more. Sigh. oh well, at least I have land and I can begin to cultivate it again.

    Have a blessed Easter and by the way- love the fish story- had no idea!!!

  14. Galit Breen says:

    Oh lovely you.

    My husband feels this way.

    I feel it when I’m in it, but but it doesn’t call me in this way.

    But you?

    You make things beautiful.

    And that, I admire.

  15. Lord, I need to get out in the mud patch that I’m calling my garden. I need you–care to vacation in Hoboken?

  16. Mom says:

    Tall black tulips and short white ones look charming, very natural.

  17. ayala says:

    Great post :) Hope you had a great Easter.

  18. Lauren says:

    I love to garden too! It is my passion. Gardening makes me feel like I am part of the earth. I love digging my bare hands into the warm soil and smelling the earth. I plant because I feel like I’ve give back to the earth, after I’ve taken so much from her. I compost, so the earth will see me not wasting. I garden because it grounds me and helps me to remember the simple pleasures in life.

  19. Leanne says:

    My dearest friend, oh how I love this post. I want to garden. Really, I do. But when i get “out there” and the bigs start coming around . . . well, i’m just a sissy, i tell you. I start a screaming and a yelping, and I think my plants all go back in the ground for fear of my skreeching! Luckily, husband has the green thumb in the family. (oh, dear . . . This reminds me, I bought about 200 various bulbs that need to be planted!!) thinking of you, and sending hugs your way.

  20. ladyjennie says:

    Is it a balcony too? Or rez de chausée garden? Not too state the obvious or anything but couldn’t you just water it? 😉


On October 6 & 7 A Lady in France will getting a makeover. Please be patient with any site weirdness you experience during this time.

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

A Lady in France on Facebook

Hotel Offers

Buy My Memoir here!

SOS Help in English:

SOS Help

Preview A Lady in France


Les Sujets

Les Histoires (Archives)


A Lady in France