Landscaping | OUTSIDE


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Craftsman GardenTHE CRAFTSMAN
Volume 6
April 1904-September 1904

by Alice M. Rathboxe

Long and serious discourses upon happiness have ended without a word for the value of gardening as one of the very simplest means to that end. The truly wise, however, know full well this happy secret, and rejoice accordingly in the best of all the fruits of garden labor.

To Emerson’s, “Give me health and a day,” let us add a little garden. “The pomp of emperors” is indeed “ridiculous” compared with the bliss that comes from “a few and cheap elements”‘ within reach of almost all of us. One condition only is to be met if we would grow this fruit called happiness to perfection, and pluck it with unmingled joy. It must flourish in a garden not too large to be under its fortunate owner’s personal care. No factotum, be he ever so well disposed really to help should be allowed to invade the little garden after the turning of the earth accomplished in the spring, lest opportunities for happiness escape us. The sowing of the seed, the tucking comfortably away of the wonderful bulbs in the fresh earth, the staking and training of plants, even the weeding of borders and the sweeping of walks, are all so many means of grace to the garden-lover.


Then sally forth well armed with trowel, rake, hoe—all the needful weapons—and the demons will fly before you, quite dismayed by the variety of fresh interests to be found even in a garden reduced to its simplest terms.

A neighbor, transplanted from her maiden home into new and somewhat uncongenial surroundings, found unfailing relief from homesickness, in her garden, through the summer, among her window-plants, in winter. Resolutely would she turn to Mother Earth for the comfort denied her elsewhere.

Child in Craftsman GardenEqual to its efficacy as a mind cure, is its effect for good on physical ills. Yet gardening as a remedial proposition is, unfortunately, not half so popular among us as patent medicines.

“In half an hour,” says Charles Dudley Warner in “My Summer in a Garden.” “I can hoe myself right away from this world as we commonly see it, into a large place where there are no obstacles.”

That “large place” should be the inheritance of all who can compass the use of a bit of earth, and to this end a taste for gardening should be encouraged among children. Whoever succeeds in planting in a child’s mind a love for ‘”the green things growing,” deep enough to reach a willingness to work for them, makes for the greater happiness of one life throughout all its stages. Gifts of seeds, roots and tools will help the little Adams and the Eves to realize the delights of a Paradise which may lie, perchance, in some neglected corner of the back yard, and as the little folk cultivate, at the same time, their gardens and their tastes, they are providing themselves with a pleasant resource for their declining years.


Woman in Craftsman GardenLady Mary Wortley Montague tells us “Gardening is certainly the next amusement to reading, and as my sight will now permit me little of that, I am glad to form a taste that can give me so much employment, and be the plaything of my age, now that my pen and needle are almost useless to me.”

In a garden, if anywhere, “the little arts of happiness” do certainly abound. As one goes out of a morning, the opening of a long-watched-for blossom may change the aspect of a whole day, and it is precisely this simple, natural coming of the garden pleasures that makes them never ending, while the happy garden hours last. Nowhere, however, does staid old Father Time allow himself to take on such flighty ways as in a garden—the pleasant hours are gone before one knows—and this trick of his is the nearest approach to a flaw in the joy of the summer-time.

Our good old Henry—factotum, philosopher and friend in one—summed up this question of the best fruit of a garden in his own wise way : “You don’t want a garden too large,” said he, “just large enough to make you happy. It’ll do that. I’ve tried it many a time. It makes you feel good when you feel bad.”

“Who loves his garden, still keeps his Eden.”

To learn more about Gustav Stickley, the publisher of The Craftsman magazine which featured this eloquent article, click here.


Please read my article on Native gardens, which I consider to be a perfect complement to any bungalow, as well as being very user & Earth friendly.

Treat yourself to more wonderful garden images on my Pinterest page.

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  1. Jen Shockley

    I wish I could garden all day! I love my native milkweed and the Monarchs it brings.

    • bungalow101

      I agree! How wonderful to have Monarch visiting you!


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