As soon as I learned the exciting news that I was going to be a grandmother, I couldn't wait to start collecting special books that I could share with our family's newest member. Nothing gave me more delight as a child than to curl up on the sofa or underneath the weeping birch tree in our backyard and read my way through a long afternoon. I will have to be patient and wait to share some of my favorites, since it's a little too soon for A Little Princess, The Secret Garden and the Anne (with an "e") books but thankfully there are many charming nursery rhyme books that can start as the foundation of Lily's library.
And here is a little rhyme for today that goes along with how I celebrated her birth...the beginning of Lily's garden! I choose to take the rhyme in a light-hearted fashion, and not delve too deeply into the darker origins of the rhyme, which are slightly macabre and involve Mary Queen of Scots and some of her dastardly doings.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
So if the first book in Lily's library is a book of rhymes (from a grandmother who was raised on Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse) the first flowers in Lily's garden need to be...lilies of the valley, of course! As I was planting them one of the first songs I learned in Brownies kept running through my head: White coral bells, upon a slender stalk, lilies of the valley line my garden walk.
Oh don't you wish that you could hear them ring? That will happen only when the fairies sing!
And speaking of fairies, I couldn't resist a few pink fairy lilies for Lily's garden as well, because after nursery rhymes comes fairy tales!
And I when I spied some lovely daylilies named Big Smile, they had to go in the garden as well because that is exactly how Miss Lily makes me feel.
I can't wait to see how all the lovely white, pink, and orange flowers bloom in her corner of the garden, but while I'm waiting I'll just enjoy the hues in Lily's Sunday outfit instead.
Perhaps Lily was lulled to sleep by Rudyard Kipling's beautiful ballad Seal Lullaby. It's been one of my favorites for years, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind usAnd black are the waters that sparkled so green.The moon, O'er the combers, looks downward to find usAt rest in the hollows that rustle between.Where billow meets billow, there soft by the pillow Oh, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!The storm shall not wake thee, no shark shall overtake theeAsleep in the storm of slow-swinging seas.