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A Garden’s Living Colors

A Note from the Editor:

On Rocky Neck — “America’s Oldest Art Colony” — I see a favorite little house with a sign out front: AVAIL. SUMMER RENTAL. “Hmmm, how much?” wonders my alter ego, the novelist (late 30s) who sails. Not only is it well located, and surrounded by a cottage garden, but it’s also painted pale turquoise, with shutters orchid pink. Probably very expensive. Passing by with the dog, I muse on the power of color and cottage gardens.

My first married apartment was a brownstone floor-through in Brooklyn: three rooms in an unbroken row. Painting rooms would, I thought, nicely break up the long narrow space. By cutting our food budget (who needs milk in a carton? I’ll buy the powder!) and rolling coins, we saved up the (once-upon-a-time) twenty bucks for a gallon of good paint, choosing a soft tan. Halfway along the first long wall I started to cry. It was that horrible Crayola color once called “flesh.” (This is when I learned about painting color samples.) Gut-wrenching as it was, I knew I couldn’t live with it. Several weeks later we could afford another can of paint—and what a leap of faith we took, this time choosing a quite dark, rich charcoal brown. It was beautiful and sophisticated. Because it was so accurate, I still remember the name of the paint color: Mink Paw.

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I moved away from brown and gray after my kids were born and I’d relocated in New England, to the glow of orange shellac, to grass green and purple and Swedish sunflower. Now I have gardens, too, filled with blooms. It seems the older I get, the less risky I find color, and the more I want to be surrounded by it.

Patricia Poore,Editor
10 Harbor Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930

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