We recently came across the statement “Classic children's literature teaches audiences of all ages the truth about the world and human nature.” Do you think this is true? Let's take a look at the Octobers of long ago through illustrations from four of Tasha's books; Pumpkin Moonshine (1938), The New England Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook (1968), Tasha Tudor's Five Senses (1978) and Around the Year (1957.)
Forget-me-nots! Oh, the forget-me-nots! Spring brings them to us. Like a Monet painting, the sky is a mirror of blue upon the ground. Broad swaths of heavenly blue grace the landscape of Tasha’s gardens and frame the buds and blossoms of flowering crabs and lilacs, soft shades of pinks and lavender, white, too. Alongside the paths, the ground is thick with violets, and Quaker Ladies lend a softer hue of blue to the marshy open areas of the wildflower garden.
In the late 1940’s, about the time when many American homes were being outfitted with the newest modern conveniences, Tasha Tudor moved to a run-down (one could say, dilapidated) 1789 New Hampshire farmhouse with no electricity, no running water, and no heat besides a few wood stoves. She was also a mother of two small children. While to some, this combination of circumstances might sound harrowing, for Tasha it was a dream realized.
I remember hearing someone ask my grandmother which season she preferred best. She explained she liked them all, and that when one ended she looked forward to the next. I don’t recall her exact words in answer to that question, but imagine it was a good explanation of her views on the matter. In any event, by the time winter ended she was always ready for spring.
On a cool autumn day you might find the Tudor family gathered outside around a large cauldron, the sweet honeyed smell of beeswax in the air. Winslow Tudor leads the candle dipping, having learned the art from his grandmother, Tasha Tudor. Winslow's daughters, Ellie, 7, and Katie, 3 are quite as involved in the process as the adults. It warms the heart to see the Tudor family gathered together, carrying on the tradition of making candles that will bring light to the family during afternoon tea, on holidays and during the dark nights of winter.
It has been rainy in Vermont lately. As gardeners, we relish the rain this time of year, especially after a dry winter. The garden bursts with life after a good rain. But for a nice rainy afternoon, inside, we relish the opportunity to finish a few sewing projects for the summer, and to take a break from outdoor work.
Tasha Tudor started her garden in Vermont nearly fifty years ago, yet brought to it many decades of prior knowledge and experience. It is a very old garden created with much wisdom. Pleasing to the eye, it possesses plants and a purpose beyond visual appeal. She called it “just a good messy garden.”