Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Garden Muse Day

Dear March--Come in--
How glad I am--
I hoped for you before--
Put down your Hat--
You must have walked--
How out of Breath you are--
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest--
Did you leave Nature well--
Oh March, Come right up stairs with me--
I have so much to tell--

Emily Dickinson

Yes, March is here at last, and in twenty days it will be Spring! As glad as I am to tear the page of February off the calendar, I know that the month of March can be a tease. Although the calendar may say that March 20 is the Spring Equinox, we all know that Mother Nature doesn't always pay attention. We may have some warm sunny days perfect for getting a head start on the garden, or we could easily have the worst snowstorm of the winter. I have seen both extremes in weather in recent years. March likes to tease us with the promise of spring then quickly remind us here in the Midwest that winter can last until April. I do hope this year March decides to be nice . . . it's already been a long winter.

Garden Muse Day is brought to you the first of every month by Carolyn Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago, and I've enjoyed participating in this meme since I first found it last June. The poem I chose for this month is by one of my favorite poets, but it's one I had never read before, and I'd like to give you a little background to explain how I chose it.

Many times in the last year, I've seen the name Tasha Tudor mentioned on different blogs, especially at the time of her passing last June. Some of you may have even invited her to your special dinner sponsored by VP. I'm not afraid to admit when I am ignorant on a subject, so I will confess that I had no idea who she was, though the name sounded vaguely familiar. At first I thought she was some trendy designer--ha! was I wrong there! Eventually, I gathered she had illustrated Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, but I thought there must be more to this woman's career than that to make her so famous.

This winter I finally had some time to investigate her more thoroughly and ordered several books by and about Tasha Tudor from the library. One of the books was The Private World of Tasha Tudor, which gave me a good overview of her life and philosophy about nature and gardening as well as beautiful photos of her home and gardens. What a fascinating woman! Meeting her must have been like stepping back in time. As much as I admire her approach to gardening, her talent, and her tireless work ethic, I don't think I would like to garden in a long dress and apron, though:)

Two of the other books I received turned out to be books of poetry--one a book of poems written and illustrated by her, and the other a book of Emily Dickinson poems which she illustrated. This poem about March included the illustration above--perhaps if you click on it to enlarge it you can see her painting in more detail.

And to think I started reading blogs thinking I would just get ideas for planting flowers!

"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish.
And what a privilege even to be alive. "

--Tasha Tudor


  1. I like this poem, especially where she says, "How out of breath you are.." Pretty much describes blustery March. Snow here this morning. No garden work today.

    I had never heard of Tasha Tudor either. Yes, all the things we learn on blogs! It's the best!

  2. Rose .. I too had no idea who this remarkable woman was. I love the poem .. and today we are out from beneath February's foot and on March's ankle towards Spring's knee ! ... as in sitting on and enjoying the weather ? LOL
    Great post : ) .. cold but sunny here and the birds are full of song and energy !

  3. Good morning Rose,

    I hope it's a beautiful Sunday in your garden? We are breathing a sigh of relief down here that March is finally here~~The roller coaster ride that has been winter is still with us. So Emily's poem to welcome March is perfect. She certainly had a magical way with words.

    I loved The Secret Garden and thought the illustrations were very sweet. Of course it wasn't until I was an adult that Tasha Tudor's name and the book were connected. She did lead a fascinating life~~one that I can admire but not want to emulate! Although a bit more of her work ethic wouldn't hurt me.

    Have a delicious day and week. I hope March is kinder to us all then February has been, although it isn't starting out will be in the teens tonight and tomorrow night. That's about 20+ degrees colder then we are used to having!

    Be warm and safe out there~~gail

  4. Tina, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who didn't know who Tasha Tudor was! It's cold and frost-covered here this morning, but no snow thankfully.

    Joy, Thanks for making me feel less ignorant:) You are awfully clever so early in the morning, LOL. I'm ready to jump on Spring's knee, too:)

    Gail, It's sunny but cold here today. March often brings us the last gasps of winter, but at least there's some hope of warm weather ahead. Tasha Tudor was an interesting person; in some ways, she reminded me of my grandmother's time--milking goats/cows, raising chickens, and so on. That part I could do without:)

  5. Rose, How true, we do get more from garden blogs than just how to grow flowers. We discover all kinds of wonderful things and learn about interesting people, like Tasha Tudor. Thanks for this insightful muse this morning.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. Oh Rose, how I love both Emily and Tasha and the lives they led are so fascinating, as you say. Love and understanding of nature pours from the souls of both of these worthy women in their words. How wonderful.

  7. Emily Dickinson really described the month of March to a tee! Lovely poem for Muse Day Rose. I've noticed Tasha Tudor mentioned alot on other blogs this past year. Blogging has not only been pleasurable but educational for me. :)

  8. A wonderful poem for Muse Day! I have never heard of Tasha Tudor either. I do think that I live in the dark at times but as you said, we learn so much more in life with blogging! A wonderful world to have found... We must restrain our self from planting here in GA as we get warm days but then a cold snap like now. Calling for snow and that is hard to believe after wearing shorts in the yard last week! Mother Nature is so fickle at times and a tough nut to crack...

  9. Dear Rose.....I adored the poetry, truly lovely.....

    March indeed can be such a tease. Last year we had a sunny March, and then April arrived with really harsh frosts which took my blossom and many blooms.....
    I never feel truly safe until May is here....

    I to have learnt such a lot from blogs....the most interesting topic for me is the personal life of those I visit. Not that I am nosey, far from it. I just find it fascinating......

  10. I have read about her on some other blogs Rose. She was a very intelligent and hard working woman.

    Thanks for the poem. I enjoyed it much!

  11. Rose,

    I sent you an email about your registration for Chicago Spring Fling. If you don't see it in your inbox check your spam folder.

  12. I like this post Rose, thank you.

    It has been a beautifull sunny March 1st here, almost too good!!!

    Can't wait for you next post (the one you hinted at at mine!)

    S x

  13. Great poem and picture! I am staying at my parents' house, at the moment and we had a sunny day today, but there was a very cold wind. It did seem fairly typical weather, for March! I have heard of Tasha Tudor, before, but can't think where I might have come across her.

    I have just read about your father. I'm so glad that he didn't suffer any serious consequences as a result of his stroke.

    My father is 84 and had a hip operation last Wednesday with an epidural, because of his other medical complications. He finally came out of Critical Care, this afternoon, to go into a normal ward, so we have our fingers crossed.

  14. I've gotten some great tips on books and DVDs from gardening blogs, too. And poetry!

  15. Had to come back Rose, because I've remembered where I came across Tasha Tudor's name before. I am interested in dolls' houses and miniatures, as you may already know and she also has a dolls' house. There is a book on sale on Amazon, detailing her 'dollhouse'. I don't have the book, but I think I have seen pictures of rooms in her dolls' house in some of my other books. Obviously a lady of many talents!

  16. Tasha Tudor was an amazing woman and a gifted artist and writer, as well as gardener. Her children's books are such a treat for adults to read to little people because of her attention to detail and beauty of the flowers she drew. Her Corgiville books are also a delight for dog lovers.

  17. I did enlarge the pic and saw geese flying home - a sure sign of spring, if I ever saw one!
    Lovely poem. I too had never heard of Tasha Tudor. What a fascinating woman. But I agree, I wouldn't want to garden in a long dress either.
    I do hope this March will be a mild and sunny month. My son's birthday is March 22 and there is usually a snow storm around his birthday. I hope not this year.

  18. Carol, That is so true! Though I've learned so many gardening tips through blogs, I've been surprised by all the other information I've learned. Oftentimes a blog post has sent me to research on my own. This is my justification for spending so much time here--it's educational:)

    Frances, That is the part of Tasha Tudor I admire, well her artistic talents, too. To be so in tune with nature as she and Emily were is a worthy goal.

    Racquel, Thank you, and I agree--I've learned so much here, and not just about gardening.

    Skeeter, I can't believe the weather reports I have been hearing--I thought Georgia would be showing its springtime blooms right now!

    Cheryl, Here, too, we can have some nasty weather up until May. I remember all the rain last year in April...and then in May as well. I've learned a lot from blogging, but meeting new friends like you has definitely been the best part.

    Susie, Thanks! The woman must have been tireless with all her artistic endeavors and then taking care of her animals and large gardens. I do well to keep up with just my small flowerbeds:)

    Mr. Brown Thumb, Thanks--I will check my e-mail.

    Suburbia, It was sunny here, too, but so cold. The wind was a typical March biting wind. I may not get that post up until Thursday--can you wait?:) You're going to love her!

  19. Mean Mom, I thought you had been rather "quiet" lately. I do hope your father recovers fully and quickly. It's hard to see our parents grow more frail--my Dad had always been in the best of health before this. As to Tasha Tudor, I remember seeing some photos of her dollhouses in the book I read--she had so many interests!

    Monica, I agree--this is an intelligent and multi-talented group writing here. Books, poetry, crafts, and I can't forget the birds--I've learned a lot!

    MMD, I'm surprised I never ran across one of her children's books when I was reading to my kids or even the grandkids. Perhaps I did, but forgot. Certainly a talented lady--I'm so glad I checked her out!

    Wendy, I remember always thinking of the geese flying north as a good sign. Now we have so many that live around here year-round, I don't know which group is which:) My daughter's birthday is March 28; the year she was born it was warm and beautiful, but since then it's usually been cold and nasty. We're ready for an early spring this year, aren't we?

  20. Yes we are - ready for an early spring. Just checking back on your Dad. Keeping him and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  21. Hi Rose, Tasha was indeed an unusual lady. A combination of old world grandmother and magic godmother. I have read her books from the library and plan to buy the one with photos of her home. Excellent choice of poems.

  22. Rose, I have never read Tasha's book of illustrated poems. I would love to do so. Do you remember the name of that book?

    It seems to me that March was full of air the past few days. COLD air at that.

  23. I liked your choice of poem for GBMD Rose. It sounds as if Emily Dickinson is greeting an old and loved friend. As you say March is a mercurial month. After a couple of mild weeks here we are heading for a taste of winter again as from tomorrow ! I have heard of Tasha Tudor but she is somebody I keep meaning to find out more about :) Thanks for nudging my memory.

  24. Beautiful lines. :) Wish you luck on March being kind on you this year!

  25. Believe it or not, I came across a little quote today that I can use for the April muse day. Hooray!!! (Um, I thought you'd like to know.)

  26. Marnie, A very apt description of Tasha Tudor!

    Lisa, I had two books--"A Brighter Garden" and "The Springs of Joy"; I can't remember which one was which. Lots of cold air here, too--I think it was 10 degrees this morning.

    Anna, Emily probably thought like a gardener--glad to see March and the promise of spring.

    Chandramouli, Thank you. Let's hope the old saying comes true and that March goes out like a lamb:)

    Monica, Now that's a teaser--I have to wait a whole month to find out what it is?:)

  27. Midwest girl here too.... I am in Ohio. can't wait till spring. LOve your blog so I will stop back often to see what you have blooming.
    Happy Bloom Tuesday.

  28. Rose, you have broadened my narrow little mind once again. I love even the sound of that woman's name--Tasha Tudor. It sounds so enigmatic and regal. Sorry to hear about your dad's illness. I've not been keeping up with everyone's posts and news. Thanks for ushering in March for us with such a lovely post.

  29. Oh, there you are with Emily again--I love her. A wonderful muse day, Rose.

  30. Bren, Welcome and thanks for visiting! We Midwesterners never know when spring will come:)

    W2W, I'd hardly call your mind "narrow":) Thanks for the concern; my Dad is doing much better. I've had a hard time keeping up with posts the last few weeks, too.

    Cosmo, Thanks; this was a new poem to me, and I thought I'd read all her poems!

  31. Rose,
    I was looking through your posts and came across this one about Tasha Tudor. I never met her but had several connections with her. When I graduated from college as an art major, I moved to Boston. This was a very long time ago. Didn't know how I was going to survive as an aritist (and it's still difficult). I was in a bookstore and came across a Tasha Tudor book and I very much related to her. I wrote her a letter asking her how she went about becoming an illustrator and she wrote an encouraging letter back to me. I treasure that letter. When I moved to Maine, my husband and I started a little gallery of our work and one summer, two couples came in and we were chatting and it turned out that they spent their summers in Vermont and were neighbors of Tasha Tudor! It's really a small world!
    best wishes,
    Nan and the Maine cats!

  32. I like the way you track something down when it intrigues you, Rose - bet you are never bored because you are always learning!

    It's been a long time since I read about Tasha Tudor's house but what stuck in my mind was her insisting that the ceilings of the inside rooms had to be low enough for her to reach them.

    Happy March!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  33. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.



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