Bloom with a View

I hated Versace in the 90s. So brash and vulgar. Too much colour! It didn’t fit into my view of fashion at all. And I’m not buying into this revival either. Or so I thought…

Classic Gianni

Classic Gianni

Then I practically tripped over this little silk twill stray and just had to bring it home. It had stumbled away from its tribe, lost its Medusa bearings and was dangling alone among less Elton John friendly fare when I came across it:IMG_3026How different it looked and behaved under my touch. It stopped yapping for attention, although I had to caution it several times. “We don’t holler here. That’s not how we do things.” Soon it accepted the rules of the house. My house was very different than the house it had been brought up in.  I guess among all that noise of the 90s, it had to raise the volume just to get any love. Not any more, I assured the little stray. Welcome to your new home.

Now with some quiet, I could read between the lines. What I read said less ‘camp Reggio Calabrian trawls Miami nightclubs’ and more ‘turbaned old lady potters in her country garden’.

He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.– Cicero

I could wear this when I’m old, accessorized with a pair of gardening shears and wellies. In the great tradition of that doyenne of gardeners, Vita Sackville-West:

Vita Sackville West painted by English painter William Strang

Vita Sackville West painted by English painter William Strang

I’ve always imagined I’d have a garden when I’m old. My mum describes her daily travails among the carrots, parsley, turnips, potatoes that she grows out behind the shed (they’re big on food in our family) and I wish I had the same capacity to conjure growth from my New York plot of concrete. But I’d plump for petalled beauty over table’s bounty any day.

May I put in a good word for dill?–Vita Sackville West

You may, Miss V, but my toiling would look like this: images-4

Or this:

images-1It isn’t that I don’t like sweet disorder but it has to be judiciously arranged–Vita Sackville West

Of course, I quite agree. Eventually, in a few years, I want to become like these judiciously arranged and sweetly disordered cultivators:

Lady-Birley-by-Valerie-FinnissIn the meantime, I will wear my Versace gardening shirt to the farmer’s market in Union Square where I will squeeze some heirloom tomatoes and dream…IMG_3042 IMG_3037

The most noteworthy thing about gardens is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.–Vita Sackville West

Celia Birtwell gardening tools

Celia Birtwell gardening tools

IMG_3038 IMG_3033 IMG_3031And gardening wasn’t her only skill. Vita’s green thumb was on friendly terms with the pen too.

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to simply slip by. How else indeed to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten, the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellow: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. Growth is exciting, growth is dynamic and alarming. Growth of the soul, growth of the mind.Unknown‘Nuff said, Miss V! Off I go to cultivate my own drop my net over a butterfly.

My debut novel, set in the thorny rose garden of international fashion is now plumply in season and ripe for the picking. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here






  1. Ahhh, your spinning of words is a delightful and refreshing welcome home for me, dear Jackie! I love this post and the way your spirit weaves through it. Fabulous. xxx

  2. Oh la laaa!! Glorious as Vita’s gardens, vibrant as only a Versace print! Great find! Loving the lady bugs xxx

  3. Gorgeous! I’ll be over to borrow it for my fire escape gardening! May you be as lucky and happy as a Lady Bug. XO

  4. It was made for one of your twilight fire escape gardening soirees. Just say the word and I’ll have it expedited your way XO!

  5. Well that was gorgeous. You’ve sold me the blouse, your book and my own garden. I don’t know how you can write such amazing posts and a new book too! 🙂

  6. Beautiful and I love how you made us love that shirt!

    • You mean you didn’t love it at first sight?! 🙂
      I’m happy to use my powers of persuasion on you. Gardening shirt and I are getting along like we were made for each other xo

  7. This is an absolute delight of a post, Jackie. I’d be careful wearing that shirt in the garden though – hummingbirds will be twisting over one another to zoom at you. And by the way – where the heck are my clothes pegs? 🙂

  8. Beautiful!!! If you do decide to go to the garden with that gorgeous shirt…take a selfie for us:).

  9. Oh Jackie, I love how this colourful shirt abundant in blossoms and ladybugs inspired such a colourful post…
    abundant in glorious quotes and colourful details!
    Once again you’ve fashionably stitched together another very intriguing post—what a delight it was to read!
    But hey you know what they say about lady bugs?
    They say when a ladybug lands on you, your wish will come true…
    so imagine what’s going to happen when you slip this lovely silk twill on?!! 😉
    I’m thinking you better be ready for a whole pile of wishes to come true!!~ xo

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