What's In the Glass? Tending the Garden


I absolutely love gardens and gardening – It’s a direct result of my parents being avid gardeners and exposing us as children to gardening and its joys, not its frustrations. My mom, with a tremendous sense of design and presentation, would move mature plantings and sizeable trees, just to ensure it’s ultimately in the right spot of our garden. This redesign happened often with frequent protest from the rest of the family, especially my father who often dug the holes. That said, we had beautiful gardens in our home, and it should be said: we were in no way wealthy. Gardening was the result of hard labor and love. 

My mom was a teacher and my father a librarian. My mom would spend money on plants for the garden rather than buy herself jewelry and material goods. We were never a showy family – but I’ve often thought of my parent’s garden as my mom’s fashion and jewelry. Something was always in style, in bloom, in color – something was always new.

My father was a rather quiet man, but when he spoke things made sense. He once asked me if I read Voltaire’s Candide, and proceeded to tell me that Candide was a man who lived a sheltered life but started to travel the world where he saw many things, the highs, the lows, the lures, the blows. Candide had a mentor Pangloss, who was an optimist that taught a world view of everything turns out fine in the finest of worlds, but Candide grew disillusioned with this and ended up realizing the only intrinsically pure thing for man to do is to cultivate our gardens, which I took literally as a child. I’ve now read Candide, and as an adult I understand there is an inner garden to tend to tend to as well. 

I do not consider myself to be a pessimist at all, but I’m certainly not a bouncing optimist. I’m a cautious pragmatist. Simply put, at a party I’m not a glass-is-half-full or glass-is-half-empty guy – I’d be the guy asking “What’s in the glass?”

The Cabonnay “What’s in the Glass” entries are dedicated to my mom and dad, who taught me that beauty and peace, is found in the simplest things, and that taking a moment to evaluate yourself and your circumstances can provide very good insights. I hope that you find value in these posts. Fact is, I definitely prefer a third glass of port over a full glass of wine after a special meal. 

- Cornelis de Jong, Cabonnay.