Edgar Albert Guest

20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England


GARDENING is hardening
In every way you view it;
It makes a fellow hustle,
And it strengthens every muscle;
It knots up many a tendon
So that no one can undo it;
It starts his back to aching,
And the man who's busy raking
Out the cobble stones and paving bricks
Is very apt to swear;
O, gardening is hardening,
It keeps wives busy pardoning
The hubbies who are spilling
Heated language on the air.

Gardening is maddening
And gladdening and saddening,
It's tiring and inspiring,
And at times a dreadful bore;
It keeps a fellow coping
With potato bugs, and hoping
That his radishes will equal
Those you purchase at the store.
It is full of grim surprises,
Disappointments it comprises.
It has all the elements of work
And pleasure's roundelay;
For one morn you find your roses
Shriveled up. The next discloses
That the lettuce should be edible
About the end of May.

Gardening is vexing,
There's no doubt it is perplexing,
There are many things about it
We don't understand and can't;
Why the lettuce we have tended
Carefully, when all is ended,
Should resemble in its toughness
Leaves from wife's rubber plant;
Why the radishes we nourished
In a cool place, where they flourished,
As we followed the directions
Of the seed man to a jot,
Should appear to us inviting
And delude us into biting,
Just to find that salamanders
Never could be quite so hot.

Still we keep on ever hoeing,
Planting garden truck and sowing
Many vegetables, knowing
What the future has in store;
And we till the soil with vigor,
Every man must be digger,
Though he cuts a sorry figure
When the harvest days are o'er.
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