Autumn Gardener, c. 1920.

1920sParks & Gardens
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Autumn gardener, c. 1920.

“He has gathered together the scarlet leaves fallen from the maple trees, and a thin stream of smoke is curling up into the air. As he watches, his mind is busy with the needs of every nook and corner of the garden. Now it is a plan to arrange the moss-grown stones, or to alter the position of a stone lantern; again, he decides just what branches he will cut from the gnarled pine trees, and in advance he sees how the flowers of spring will look around the pond.

“While he throws a fresh pile of maple leaves on the fire, he concerns himself with the arrangements of stones, trees, and shrubs – a mystery known only the initiated. He understands the manner in which azalea and stone lanterns, bridges and maples, hydrangea and cedar may be combined, giving the effect of some mountain-side or forest glade, and by the magic of his hand, he is able to create a picture which never loses its charm or grows monotonous to the eye.

“For him the garden is peopled with the ghosts of all the flowers that are gone, and the spirits of those yet to come. Lore of peony, camellia, iris, and wistaria [sic] are stored away in his head.

“The smell of the damp mould of fallen leaves is in the air. The clamor of insects is like a farewell serenade to summer. And still the old man stirs the fire, planning out his duties for the coming day.”

“Peace in the Garden”, by Zoe Kincaid, Tokyo Vignettes, 1933

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