I dream of gardens….

Last night I dreamt of gardens. I dreamt of my garden at 1 Stone Street. It was actually…two gardens! Last year’s garden, AND next year’s garden. Poised between the two, past and future.

The garden in the dream was in full July flower –sunny, beneficent, vigorous, plentiful, prolific. Even with corn growing –something I didn’t plant in 2007.

Everything looked good. But then I noticed –with a sense of some panic– that there were No Tomatoes! My God! Tomatoes –some forty or fifty plants of them, all of them staked– were the overwhelming feature of my 2007 garden. Some grew to a height of 10 and 12 feet, thanks to the sun, the staking, and sufficient, but not too much,watering. Tomatoes were the raison detre for my 2007 garden. I was still picking them in November.

But in the dream, oddly, there were no tomatoes. Unthinkable! Immediately, I rushed to plant some, but of course they would be late, possibly too late. I was gripped with a sense of incomprehensible, what-was-I-thinking oversight, a sense of panic.

As I busied myself with the belated planting, I woke up.

Phew! What a relief…..

Later, it occurred to me that the garden in the dream was NOT my garden at 1 Stone Street. It was the garden, “our” garden, –“the” garden– back at Park House, Cobh, County Cork, in the south of Ireland.

It was the garden, not of 2007, but of 1947. The garden of just after World War Two –a time when gardens were…very important.

The garden where, incidentally, there was no corn (–corn wasn’t grown in Ireland; possibly couldn’t grow in Ireland). No, this was the garden in which I helped my father with his rows of Kerrs Pink and Arran Banner and British Queen. Those are potato varieties, by the way, in case you hadn’t guessed.

And we couldn’t wait for August, to dig the new potatoes and eat them boiled, hot with melting butter and salt, “skin and all”. (“Skin and all”, as they said about the people in Cork. That we ate our potatoes “skin and all” (a “put down”, by the way, that occurred in a wellknown song.)

So, this year, 2008, Potatoes –a few, at least– at 1 Stone Street. Enough for a ritual Colcannon.

I can’t wait.


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