Harriet Keeler (1846-1921) was a Cleveland, Ohio educator, botanist, author, suffragist, and lover of nature.…
Remembering years of pleasure from gardening –
Alexander Hamilton Ladd (1815-1900) lived in a colonial mansion on downtown Market Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
William Whipple, an eighteenth century relative and the original owner of the house, had signed the Declaration of Independence.
A horse chestnut that Whipple planted in 1776 when he returned from the signing in Philadelphia still stands in the front to the side of the house.
Today, however, A. H. Ladd is remembered primarily for his garden in the back of the property.
Ladd kept a journal of his work of many years in the garden. The journal, discovered only in 1990, became a book simply titled Alexander H. Ladd’s Garden Book 1888-1895: A 19th Century View of Portsmouth. It recounts his love of gardening.
After many years of working in the garden Ladd reflected on how much the garden meant to him.
In a letter to his son William dated Saturday, November 16, 1895 Ladd wrote about the pleasure the garden had given him for so many years.
He said, “I think it [the garden] is as good and productive a garden as any in the state, and I have never seen a better one. I have been at work upon it for 30 years and have gotten lots of pleasure, health, and vegetables from it.”
Very simply stated, isn’t it?
He enjoyed gardening because of the pleasure it gave him.
Ladd planted thousands of tulips every Fall. He dug them up after blooming and stored them for planting later for the next spring.
His love of gardening included dark moments as well. These are moments when you ask yourself, is it all worth it?
Ladd wrote in his journal on October 24, 1889, after planting dozens of tulips, “I can never do better, and perhaps not so well again, and have lost much interest in this Hobby.”
He gardened, inspite of dark moments, because of the pleasure it gave him.