“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
“April… hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – William Shakespeare
“There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.” – William Cullen Bryant
“Break open A cherry tree And there are no flowers; But the spring breeze Brings forth myriad blossoms.” – Ikkyu Sojun
“In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.” – Kobayashi Issa
“The April winds are magical.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers.” – Byron Caldwell Smith
Long summer days mean that we can spend more time out of doors. And one of the best places to linger in the summer twilight is in a lovely garden. There’s something about candlelight and dinner in the garden that is absolutely magical.
Though I can count such dinners I’ve experienced on one hand, they stand out in my mind. Some memories shine more than others, like tiny jewels in an inner treasure chest — clearer, sharper, more durable.
One such memory is of an impromptu dinner I once had with friends in Seattle. A guest was visiting from Switzerland and we decided to have our dinner outside, just beside the flower garden.
We pulled out the kitchen table, draped it in a lace tablecloth, and added details to make the dinner even more special — fresh flowers from the garden, antique water goblets and an Art Deco silverware set that belonged to my grandparents, and a tiny salt and pepper set — green and white enamel owls. One of my roommates, who was attending a culinary arts school, created a sumptuous meal full of summer freshness — I remember a cold blueberry soup with creme fraiche swirled on top and a salad with orange nasturtiums from the garden.
I never made the connection before, but surely that evening found its way into my novel The Garden House, which is set in Seattle. There’s a scene where the main character, Miranda, sets a beautiful table on the garden deck and enjoys a lovely summer evening with her husband and a few friends.
The Italian poet and author Cesare Pavese said, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those words came to him as he sat in a summer garden at evening.
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