I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Tasha Tudor

I have grown increasingly fascinated by Tasha Tudor over the past few months. Most people are very familiar with her artwork of quaint scenes reminiscent of the early Victorian period. As I've explored gardening and the history of many plants (I particularly like heirloom plants even if they can have more problems than modern hybrids because the romance of their stories and the knowledge that someone somewhere liked them enough to take the time to save and pass down the seeds is very appealing to me) I've continued to bump into references of Tasha Tudor and her unbelievable gardening skills.

I checked out from the library Tovah Martin's book titled Tasha Tudor's Garden and devoured it in one day. I hope to add the book to my own collection at some point because the photographs are just beautiful and Tudor's gardening style is very similar to my own: she prefers big, showy and romantic flowers, she likes to stuff her garden full of plants so it looks full and untamed. She favors frilly roses and bright pink peonies, pastel poppies and lots of plants that creep, spread and grow to gargantuan heights. Me too! I like a combination of cottage garden style with the biggest and showiest and prettiest flowers that I can find. My favorites are hydrangeas, hollyhocks, climbers like morning glories and clematis, creeping verbena and so on. My husband prefers a tidier landscaping approach with japanese maples, some well placed begonias and accent stone. So it was nice to find a fairly kindred gardening spirit in the pages of the book about her marvelous garden.

As I read the book it became clear that Tasha Tudor lived a life very much on her own terms. She believed that she had lived before in the 1830s and she wanted to live that same lifestyle again in the 20th century. She had her son build her farmhouse by hand, whittling the wood pegs and piecing the entire thing together with antique tools. The only electricity used in the process was at the mill where the local trees were hewn into boards. The house contains two large hearth fireplaces and a wood cooking stove. It has looms and spinning wheels and pretty much everything that Tudor used on a daily basis was an antique from the period she loved. I believe she had no electricity and her one concession to modernity was the installation of a telephone. She also had quite a menagerie of animals including goats for milk, chickens for meat and eggs and several Corgi dogs that kept her company. She dressed in Victorian style clothing which she made herself from seed to finished product - I don't know any other simple living folks who literally grow their own flax to make into linen.

In many ways Tasha Tudor reminds me of the Nearings, though Tasha didn't have a political/social agenda in her decision to live simply. She just liked it and managed to find a way to support herself and the life she wanted to live. I admire that so much. I've been thinking lately how easy it is to just do the expected, strive for all that modern life has to offer and I wonder if we aren't missing joy at times. Obviously, the real trick to a successful life is to find something that really brings you joy and contentment and figure out how to support yourself doing that very thing. So few of us manage to achieve this nirvana of work and living.

I hope to be able to find the DVD's about Tasha Tudor through library interloan and am now perusing her cookbook and the book about her heirloom crafting. In addition I found a very interesting book, Renewing America's Food Traditions by Gary Nabhan that discusses all sorts of foods that we used to eat but are become "extinct". It seems to fit into this theme of looking to the past to find more fulfillment in today's busy world.




Rach said...

That's the way I like a garden as well. It's why I spend so much on perennials that spread. If I had the right climate, I'd totally have the peonies. I'm trying to convince B to put in hydrangea bushes this year. I LOVE them!

Those neat, tidy gardens remind me of Colonial Williamsburg. Mom is like us too. :o)

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