My next project is night gardening. Once during the Q & A part of a speech I gave in New York City, a petite elderly lady popped up and asked, “What do you offer for a night garden?” I mumbled something about moonflowers, four o’clocks and an especially iridescent pale petunia I’ve since forgotten. But her querulous Miss Evesham voice haunted me like The Night-Blowing Cereus in Thornton’s painting. Last year, as I collapsed on my coverlet after a day gardening carelessly without a hat (I kept telling myself, “Just a little while longer”), I swore I’d have only a night garden one day. Little darling, it’s been a long and lonely winter.
Who knew? The World We Live In, the wonderful Life magazine book from the 1950s, illustrated with spectacular diorama-like scenes of the nocturnal world of the desert, filled with night creatures, mostly different types of mice. I used to study these illustrations for hours.
Sometimes, full-sun day gardening gets so dazzlingly intense that my vision momentarily slips like a photographic negative, and I become blind. I should garden at night with a miner’s helmet, or better yet with my eyes closed. I’ll start training during the day with a blindfold.
Or maybe set up lights like at a ballpark. Anything to beat the heat and the grueling sunlight. Perhaps the bugs would get tired of me after awhile, or I with them.
The ultimate shade garden!