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1 THE GARDEN . ISLAND, TUESDAY, FEB. 15, 1921
I Experiences With
Koy j. m.
I frankly admit that I have no
fancy for hard work. I am the lineal
descendant of Adam, the flrBt great
gardner of all time, and I am fairly
true to type. He didn't do any work
until he had to. He was very proud
of his garden, and enjoyed the fruits
of It, hut he didn't do any work In
It, so far as the records show.
Now In the natural order of things
I am just like Adam. I too am proud
of a garden, and enjoy the fruits and
flowers, but work in it, not i. '
Driven to It " ,
But when you'can't hire a yard man
for anything short of the wages of a
Cabinet Minister; when your place Is
growing up to a hopeless Jungle; when
you realize that every day of neglect
must be paid for by many days of
hard work later, you begin to get
desperate, and you come to the conclu
sion that you too can work. If you
have to, Just as Adam did.
So reluctantly ' and resentfully, I
went to work In the neglected garden.
It was hard work allright dirty and
monotonous, and very wearying for
the first go off, but gradually as I
began to get used to It, it didn't seem
o bad, and I became interested in the
discoveries I was making.
First, I was surprised to find how
deplorably Ignorant I was of all that
pertains to a garden. Like everybody
else brought up in rural surroundings,
I supposed that I knew all about the
things and the ways of Nature. And
yet when It came right down to def
inite knowledge, I found It wasn't
there. Can you plant any time, or
How deep should you plant? - Should
you plant In nursery beds and then
transplant, or plant where things were
going to stay, and then thin them out?
How long does it take things to grow,
and how soon may you reasonably
expect to enjoy the first fruits?
How Long to Mature Fruit?
These and a great many other thing
I found I didn't know. For instance
I had lived alongside the banana tree
' all my life, yet I didn't know how long
It took to produce and mature a
bunch of bananas. Six months? or
a year? or a year and a half?
The same was true In regard to pa--palas.
How long after you riant
the seed will you begin to enjoy the
fruit? I didn't know yet these are
Ef yo has any respec fo yosef," fo le good
ob de Islun, or foh.de seatin eapassity ob
de TIP TOP TIIEATEli
poan yo. go to dat debblish
What am to be giv , "
dey gwine do
A Home Garden f
the. two commonest and most useful
products "of our gardens. . And the
samo was more or less true of every
I began to enquire about, and found
that most ordinary people didn't know
much more about them thiv did,
and tholr tr.sves, like my own, were
of thit i.i(l2r::-,:;d kind, conveyed by
"Not lon,;,"or "Quite a while"
Information fram Pitcairn . ... ,
With roRard to bananas, my ignor
ance was enlightened from- an unex
pected source. One of the Fltcairn
Inlanders put me wise. Telling of
their lite there in the early days, when
they had ( to raise everything they
ate, he volunteered the information
that bananas took about 15 months
to mature. My own experience has
taught me that papaias take about
the same time.
When the banana and the papain
makes so phenomenal a growth in so
short a time, It was a surprise to
learn thatv It takes five months to
mature the Insignificant peanut.
The Interest of--the Passers-by
Another matter of surprise was
the curiosity and interest with which
the passers-by watched our activities.
For everyone, from the highest to the
lowest, it. was evidently a spectacle of
great interest to see us -work. And
it was a pleasant diversion to watch
their faces, and Interpret the things
that were running through their
minds. Plantation laborers going by
carrying , raincoat, hoe, and lunch
pail, frowsy and grimy, grinned a gen
ial smile of fraternal recognition that
welcomed us to their ranks, and that
said, as plain as could be"Now we
are all friends together." It was a
pleasant greeting, and we couldn't
well refrain, from smiling back in re
sponse. Then another type would
come along, and stare in with a dour
expression of hardened satisfaction,
as much as to say, "So you had to
come to it, did you? Now yoVre
just where you belong!" Still
another would look with a sort of
mild patronising pity that said, "What
poor soft guys these highbrows are."
Still others were overcome with glee
at the prospect before them, and grin
ned and giggled at one another, point
ing a derisive finger, and saying;
"Just see 'em work. Ain't It funny!"
I Pass for the Yard Man
One day a portly, well dressed man
sauntered up and peered over the wall
at my " clumsy spading. Manifestly
he took me for the yard man, and pro
de Lawd Sake!
ah am agin dat show.. All dat
wif de kale is to gib it fo
An the wost paht ob de whole rauibunkshus
, shootinworks is dat dey are gwiiie. to buy
inos'ly books fob. de kids wid dat money.
AH doan think kids need no books. Ah nevah
red nary book and yo kin see how eddkated ah am.
Boy, yo tak mah word fob it au DOAN YO OO.
Yo probubly wouldn' have a siugle
peicefull minnit to think about yo eaihs
an worries durin de whole show.
ceeded to give me much sound advice
as to how I oughWo cultivate, etc. He
had been brought up on a farm, but
had graduated from that sort of
drudgery, and was doing weH now
selling insurance. He thought I had
better do the same, Just as soon as
the. bonus went down. Finally he
asked me whose place It was anyway.
I told him frankly enough, but I did
n't connect up my Identity with It.
We Don't Care What People Think
Being conspicuously placed on the
main highway, with no screen of trees
or other covering to hide our actlvi-'
ties from the public gaie, we felt more
or less self conscious at first, espe
cially as we were clad in working
clothes of a nondescript character.
But we soon got used to that,, and re
joiced In our new-found independence
that didn't care a rap what people
thought or said. And doubtless they
did think and say things, some of
them kindly, sympathetic, and patron
izing; others critical, disparaging and
We are Independent of the Yard Man
Coupled "with this independence of
public opinion there was another kind
of independence which was more
worth while. This was the Indepen
dence of the yard man, whose de
mands were steadily increasing, while
hlu returns therefor were as steadily
shrinking. The days had been, when
W would stand at the gate with en
ticing words, and lavish offers trying
in -vain to beguile man, woman or
child to do a little desultory work in
our yard. These efforts were treated
with scorn. That time had gone by
for good. And now when, a decrepit
old man, or an Irresponsible kid
wanted to work In the yard for about
twice what he could get on ,the Plan
tation, we turned him down so sudden
and so hard, that he rubbed his eyes
and looked around to see If this was
still Lihue, that was so different.
The Maudlin Delight of It
We took Just the same kind of
maudlin delight in our garden that
the young "couple" does in their first
baby. The first bud on a begonia,
or the first flower on a marigold was
as wonderful an event, as the baby's
first tooth, or its first seraphic smile.
And we watched the growing things
with a pertinacity that was restless.
Morning, afternoon, and evening we
made the round of our estates, watch
ing for new developments. Scarcely
a leaf could unfold or a bud could
swell but we knew it If those spied
on plants could speak, I can imagine
them crying out "For goodness sake,
can't you let us alone! We want ro
grow In peace! We don't want, to
be watched all the time." And to
tne passer-by it must have been th
o tasion of much amusement, and the
fn r.'imnt comment, -"There thejo
goops are again making the round of
their garden what they find to look
at every time gets me!"
Too Fascinating to Stop
What I had feared as tiresome
drudgery soon proved not to be so
bad after all, and then fiitully It be
came positively fascinating. I began
with the temperate resolve to put In
an hour or two before breakfast,
which I thought was about all I
could stand. But when breakfast
time came I was in the midst of some
interesting Job, and was ben' on f in-
ishing it. And that always led to
some other and before I knew It It
was lunch time. ,
Just wherein the fascination lies I
haven't been able to make out. It
may be a Survival of the rural train
ing of the race; It may e the Joy of
seeing things grow; it may be the
charm of the open out-of-doors; It
may be the satisfaction of getting
things done; or it may be all of them
However it may be explained, there
is an unexpected fascination about It
that cannot be denied. You come to
count it your choicest interest. You
look forward to it; and you resent
any intrusion of a social or business
kind that interferes with. it.
Rrcreatlon, Exercise and Profit
And you congratulate yourself that
it is not only the finest of recreations,
but It is the very best of physical ex
ercise as well. 'You eat well, and
sleep well, and all life looks cheery
and interesting. And as you look
over your garden and take note of
what you have wrought, your pity
goes out for the poor guys who waste
their time in profitless recreation,
frantically hitting balls that land
nowhere, and running to, goals of no
profit. A half acre of garden, with
a hoe and a rake, are worth more
than all the lawn tennis and baseball
and soccer ever rooted for. When
you have run your legs off, and yelled
yourself hoarse, that's all you have
to show for it stiff limbs and a sore
The Residue of Results
But in your garden you have the
residue of results. In "the first year
we had" bananas, papaias, squashes,
carrots, radishes, beans, bell-peppers,
peanuls, tomatoes, beets, potatoes,
sweet and Irish, as well as a profu
sion of flowers, many of them of
choice varieties. And for the second
year we have the assurance of all of
these, and many others that take more
time to grow.
Now these things go to the credit
of the garden. They have a market
value.' If you happen to be without
them and have to buy them you will
find that out. And a good deal of
the time you simply can't buy them at
any price; this gives them a very
much enhanced value. Blessed Is
the man who isn't dependent on the
peripatetic vegetable dealer, who Is
most unreliable, or the vegetable
store, which is scarcely less bo.
The Yard Man Earns Hit Money
Finally there is one other discovery
that I have made, which Is that
there Is far more work about a garden
than I ever Imagined. I used to
think that the ordinary yard man had
a soft snap of it. That he could do
the work in half the time if he want
ed to, and that he didn't earn his
wages. Now I take off my hat to
him, and beg his pardon. If he does
his duty he earns his mney. In the
early stages, I fancied that I could
keep our place, there is an acre
and, a half of It, in good shape by
putting a couple of hours 4 day onto
it. I soon learned the tolly of that.
Perhaps there are some places that
in some mature stages could be kept
up on that basis, but not ours anyway.
And farthurmore I could never get
ours to the point where it only had
to be kept up. And I am beginning
to think that there is no such point
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