Katharine S. White

"The only moment in the year when she actually got herself up for gardening was on the day in fall that she had selected, in advance, for the laying out of the spring bulb garden -- a crucial operation, carefully charted and full of witchcraft. The morning often turned out to be raw and overcast, with a searching wind off the water--an easterly that finds its way quickly to your bones. The bad weather did not deter Katharine: the hour had struck, the strategy of spring must be worked out according to plan. This particular bulb garden, with its many varieties of tulips, daffodils, narcissi, hyacinths, and other spring blooms, was a sort of double-duty affair. It must provide a bright mass of color in May, and it must also serve as a source of supply--flowers could be stolen from it for the building of experimental centerpieces.
Armed with a diagram and a clipboard, Katherine would get into a shabby old Brooks raincoat much too long for her, put on a little round wool hat, pull on a pair of overshoes, and proceed to the director's chair--a folding canvas thing--that had been placed for her at the edge of the plot. There she would sit, hour after hour, in the wind and the weather, while Henry Allen produced dozens of brown paper packages of new bulbs and a basketful of old ones, ready for the intricate interment. As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion--the small, hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection."
E.B. White, foreword to Katharine S. White's Onward and Upward in the Garden

I love E.B. White's touching description of his wife's bulb planting in her dying days. The small, fragile figure defying illness and inclement weather to carry on her gardening plans, "calmly plotting her insurrection"-- this is just how I would like and hope to end my days. It is also apt that these words appeared in her only published book, a collection of her articles on gardening for the New Yorker which E. B. White put together after her death, an act that he claims saved his life, giving him her words in her absence. 

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