“A Garden to Walk in and…”

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in- what more could he ask? A few flowers at this feet and above him the stars.” Victor Hugo (Les Miserables)

Dear Reader:

This is a quote that somehow escaped me reading Les Miserables in my French high school class (I wasn’t into gardens or stars back then)..but now I immediately think to myself…How true! What more could anyone want than flowers at their feet and stars above him or her?

*** Except discovering wisteria and my orange trumpet vine blooming at the same time…above me! Be still my pattering heart! (Title photo)

I think I can, also, finally answer that age old economics question about wants and needs.…the needs for life are still the same…. food, clothing, and shelter...but my wants have changed so much.

Hugo nailed it. “Flowers at my feet and stars above me”…that would be my answer for wants today.

I thought about the word ‘immensity’ (“immensity to dream in”) meaning  something of massive extent or unending vastness. In other words…something HUGE! As a child I thought to myself that cleaning up my room…a weekly Saturday morning rule, was an “immensity of a chore.” (even if I didn’t know the word.)

As we grow into adulthood…”immensity” changes doesn’t it? The immensity of life’s obstacles and challenges changes throughout each stage of life. We soon come to realize that most “immensity” falls into emotional or spiritual categories rather than physical.

Last Thursday I wandered around  Flowertown Nursery as if I were a princess in a fairy tale. There were budding trees, plants, and flowers as far as the eye could see. The crazy thought crossed my mind that I would like to build a tiny cottage right in the middle of the nursery and live there happily ever after.

I would never have to worry about saving up to buy another plant or bush to re-plant in my garden but just live within the “immensity” of this nursery of beautiful foliage and unwavering beauty.

Here are some photos I took while admiring all the new plants coming in by the truckloads while I was there. Pink and white striped mandevillas…spring mist, the dogwoods are just starting to bloom …gorgeous against any background…and

… look at this “Genie” Magnolia bloom…takes one’s breath away!!!

When I got home however, Michael Salvo, my wonderful fireman/lawn maintenance friend had come and gone…leaving everything in the yard and garden looking so clean and fresh.  I decided right then that I didn’t need a fairy tale “Cinderella” nursery home…. I had everything I needed right here…flowers beneath my feet and stars above me.

See for yourself…

The boys’ Japanese Maples have definitely “skunked” the girls this year in starting their blooming stage earlier. As fate would have it the boys ended up all getting Red Japanese Maples while Eva Cate and Eloise have the green Japanese Maples…that bloom a little later in the spring. The early bloom on the green maples are so pretty…like this first bud opening on Eva Cate’s tree. Eloise’s tree is still waiting for a little bud…but it will come. It just got planted last year.


I am actually at Walsh and Mollie’s today. Mollie is at a conference with Beauty Counter and I came over after my foot appointment yesterday to spend the night and help Walsh tomorrow keeping Eloise while the boys have soccer games today. Will tell you all about the appointment when I return…the secret lies within. ”

So until tomorrow… “May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.” 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “A Garden to Walk in and…”

  1. bcparkison says:

    There is something dreamy about visiting a plant nursery.All of the color of Spring in one place does take your breath …and can do real damage to your pocketbook.( there’s that word again …ageing us ).


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    I know I can’t not say “pocketbook” because a purse to me will always be a coin purse or a purse for dress-up evenings out…proms, graduations and all kinds of special occasions. I am stuck with dated vocabulary…but then again I loved my grandmother’s expressions and still use them today because they remind me of her…obsolete language is a treasure in itself.


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