Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday PSTSS: "Garden Song"

It's May. A couple of days this week, the temps here in Wichita went over 80 degrees. Last night we had a good old-fashioned spring/summer thunderstorm, which drenched all the flowers my wife just put in. And this week, we'll be getting serious about putting our garden together. We've already planted some blackberry bushes and spinach and herbs, but this week we're thinking corn, cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions, potatoes, maybe even watermelons or pumpkins. We've got more space to work with this year than last, and we got a neighbor doing some extensive landscaping to donate close to a ton of fresh dirt for us to work with. We've got some high hopes for this year, that's for sure.

There's a lot that someone with my kind of philosophical sensibilities could say (and probably has said, many times before) about gardening, but for the moment, I think I'll let John Denver--what, the original granola boy? yes indeed--do the talking. "Garden Song" wasn't ever released as a single, so far as I know; it comes from his self-titled album John Denver. A simple , beautiful, and wise song...and gardening is, after all, a simple pleasure, one that--if you do right--will bless you with beauty and wisdom (and good food!) which is something everyone needs.

Inch by inch, row by row--
gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row--
Someone bless the seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below,
'til the rain comes tumbling down.

Pulling weeds and picking stones--
man is made of dreams and bones.
Feel the need to grow my own
'cause the time is close at hand.
Grain for grain, sun and rain--
find my way in nature's chain,
to my body and my brain,
to the music from the land.

Plant your rows straight and long,
thicker than with prayer and song.
Mother Earth will make you strong
if you give her love and care.
Old crow watching hungrily,
from his perch in yonder tree.
In my garden I'm as free
as that feathered thief up there.

Inch by inch, row by row--
gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row--
Someone bless the seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below,
'til the rain comes tumbling down.

9 comments:

DrJubal said...

Hello again -

I'm pretty sure this was originally by David Mallett, but covered by John Denver, among others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mallett

Have a good weekend!

The Modesto Kid said...

Sweet -- I never knew that was a John Denver song. I knew it from Tom Hunter. Oh I see from drjubal's comment, it was David Mallet's song.

Glen said...

Russell, do yourself a favor and plant some perennials. We've been planting a few here and there for the last two years, and for the first time we actually have stuff coming up - it's not sparse any more, the plants have crowded out most of the weeds, and they're actually blooming! It looks like a real garden, finally.

Also, a word of warning about corn: if you've never planted it before (and I don't know whether you have or not - I know you have some farm in your background), you can't plant it in a single row. It won't pollinate, because it's strictly wind pollinated. You have to plant at least several rows. But you can do short rows. Good luck!

Russell Arben Fox said...

DrJubal--you know, I remember seeing "Mallett" on the lyrics, but I didn't know what it referred to; I should have thought that it was probably a name and checked it. Thanks for the heads up.

Modesto Kid--I'm familiar with Tom Hunter, but I don't know if he ever recorded "Garden Song." Maybe he did though. I actually only know of this song because John Denver sang it on The Muppet Show, ages ago; I've never owned the album it's off of.

Glen--we're getting some perennials in, especially in the herb garden we're working on. But it's a piecemeal project. This is only the second growing season we've been in this home, so we're taking what we can get. As for the corn, thanks for the reminder; we knew that about the wind pollination, and hope that the four short parallel rows we've planted will work well.

The Modesto Kid said...

Tom Hunter played many times at my parents' (Congregational) church in my childhood, and led us kids in sing-alongs. I'm pretty sure I learned "The Garden Song" from listening to him playing it and singing along. But couldn't say whether he recorded it; IIRC my folks had a record of his but I don't know if I ever listened to it.

The Modesto Kid said...

(ObJohnDenver: Did you know he was in The Chad Mitchell Trio, before his solo career? I did not know this until recently.)

Glen said...

"This is only the second growing season we've been in this home, so we're taking what we can get."

Yeah, us too. It takes a couple of years to pay off. But it's sure rewarding once it does.

"hope that the four short parallel rows we've planted will work well."

That's what we've done as well, and it seems to work okay. Occasionally get a less than fully pollinated ear, but for the most part they're okay.

We're trying sunflowers for the first time this year. Should be interesting.

Sarah said...

I've heard this sung by several different people- any way you go about it, it's a great song- and the Muppet Show version is one of my favorites. Happy planting!

Western Dave said...

I'm most partial to the Peter Paul and Mary live version myself. Re: Tom Hunter, we went to the same summer camp (me a few years after him) and they still sing his songs there thirty years later.