“Small pleasure must correct great tragedies,
Therefore of gardens in the midst of war
I boldly tell.”

Vita Sackville-West, The Garden

Table of Contents

  One War and Gardens
  Two Trench Gardens: The Western Front in World War I
  Three Ghetto Gardens: Nazi Europe, 1939–44
  Four Barbed-Wire Gardens: Allied Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees in Europe and Asia in the World Wars
  Five Stone Gardens: Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–45
  Six Postwar: Gardens after the War
  Seven Digging Deeper: The Spirit of Defiant Gardens

War and Gardens

French Trenches
Shelters with Gardens Behind. In French Trenches. WWI

Gardens traverse the terrain from subsistence to the highest forms of artistry. As a landscape architect I am fascinated by the range of garden types and possibilities, and by the variety of human creativity expressed in gardens, especially when they have been created under conditions of adversity. The journey that set my feet on the path to write this book began with my encountering a single image: a photograph of French soldiers in World War I standing in front of a small vegetable garden adjacent to their dugout quarters. This evocative picture haunted me for years. Why did these soldiers make this garden? What did it mean to them? What kind of satisfaction did they derive from creating, and tending, and harvesting it? Consideration of these questions became the germ of the idea of defiant gardens.

. . . This book, however, looks at those created in extreme situations—defiant gardens. Such gardens stand not in harmony with but in opposition to their locations, asserting their presence and almost demanding response from their human visitors. . . .My focus is on defiant gardens created during wartime. . . These gardens offer evidence of the profound meanings contained in the experience of gardens. These are all extreme situations, but there are lessons and ideas to be gleaned from these places that apply to garden making in more benign ¬conditions.

I chose to look at gardens from the first half of the twentieth century, whose wars were the deadliest in human history: gardens built behind the trenches in World War I, on both sides of the Western Front, gardens created by Jews imprisoned in ghettos by the Nazis during World War II, gardens in POW and civilian internment camps of both wars, and gardens created by Japanese Americans held at internment camps in the United States during World War II. In the final chapter, I look at gardens in more recent years, including those built in the desert by U.S. soldiers in the 1990–91 Gulf War, those created in the wake of September 11, 2001, and those of the war in Iraq.

I try to tell the story of these gardens through the individuals who created them and who experienced them directly. Thus I have primarily relied on first-person accounts, diaries, memoirs, testimonies, photographs, and drawings. . . .

Studying the intersection of gardens and war yields great rewards of understanding about humanity and about nature. Life, home, work, hope, and beauty are five attributes that lie dormant in all gardens, awaiting the catalyst that propels them to germinate and allowing us to recognize them as defiant gardens. These gardens can be of any scale, their life spans vary from that of a window box to a valley, and they may be real or imagined.

Life. As living beings we display biophilia, which sociobiologist E. O. Wilson argues is an indisputable, innate affinity for the natural world and especially for its life forms, flora and fauna. The products of the garden sustain us as both food for our bodies and food for our psyches. Our senses guide our behavior, provide pleasure and satisfaction, and allow us to experience ourselves as being of nature and as being witnesses to garden as both noun and verb.

Home. We have deep attachments to the places we call home, and indeed even the nomad has a sense of home. Gar¬dens may be part of our home or reminders of homes we have inhabited. Gardens can be mnemonic devices, conjuring reminders of the place and all the associations we make with it and people, experiences, and history. Away from our desired or permanent home, a garden can be a way of transforming a place into a home, of creating an attachment to a new place and also establishing a connection to our former place.

Work. Garden is a verb as well as a noun. As both physical and mental labor, garden work can provide the particular sense of identity and satisfaction that comes from manual labor. The work represents the symbiotic relationship between human beings and the rest of the natural world.

Hope. Gardens take time to conceive, make, develop—and grow. Hope is embodied in the temporal dimension and in the seeming miracle of the transformation from seed to plant to fruit, food, flower, and fragrance. The mere act of making a garden implies a future in which plants will reach fruition and results will be enjoyed. This is true even when we set out plants that may take generations to mature, becoming a real legacy. Gardening is inherently hopeful as a series of affirmative, assertive acts—the seeds will germinate, the plants will enjoy adequate rain and sunshine, nothing will squash or eat them… and we will survive to see all that.

Beauty. Gardens are beautiful. Our response to the natural world that we find or assemble is rooted in our instinctual response to certain conditions. Overlaid with that impulse, like an onion, are layers of experiences, memories, associations we might make, history, and culture that bind us together in groups and societies, and layers that reflect our idiosyncrasies as individuals. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though the beholder may have little awareness of what has created the “eye.” Our awareness of our own attraction to and delight in form, pattern, proportions, intricacy, boldness, craft, and technique can be heightened by contrast and by changes in context. Thus in war, the antithesis of the beautiful—the common garden—may become the highest art. As individual soldiers can engage in heroic acts, so can there be heroic gardens. . . .

In trenches, ghettos, and camps, defiant gardens attempted to create normalcy in the midst of madness and order out of chaos. During wartime, the garden represented, as George Eisen put it, an “enterprise of survival, a defense of sanity and a demonstration of psychological ¬defiance.”

Trench Gardens: The Western Front in World War

Regent Street
“Gardening in Regent Street at the Front: Beauty and War”, Illustrated London News, 8 May 1915

Trench gardens reveal something about the character of soldiers in World War I, as well as about the nature of gardens. First, that the line of trenches at the front remained stable long enough to plant and even harvest a garden. Second, although their primary purpose was to yield fresh produce for the troops, gardens also assuaged the horrific conditions under which the men lived.

Nearly a century later, gardens in that landscape present natural questions for us. Why were they made, how were they made, what did they mean to their makers, what did they mean to others who witnessed them, and what do they mean to us now? Most people even now, and surely most soldiers in World War I, understand what it takes to create a garden: the process stretches from a vision and design to selecting a site, marshalling materials, actually putting hand to plow or shovel, monitoring, and maintaining. Such actions are part of the creation and maintenance of every garden. The extreme setting of the war, however, exacerbated each task in every dimension.

Soldiers created gardens as a response to their basic needs and as an aid to their physical and mental survival. They also represented desire, a wish for the comforts of home, a concrete expression of hope, and the desire for life, peace, and a future. But the paradox of the garden is that, although we associate gardens with the natural world, gardens only exist as human creations; they are places where we have exerted control over the natural world. At the front—a profoundly chaotic and unnatural situation—human success in exerting control over anything is extraordinary in itself, and a powerful re¬minder of our humanity.

In the trenches, even as soldiers fought for survival, their actions and preoccupations often transcended that essentially human struggle for basic comforts, which were well beyond the reach of these men: palatable food, a reasonable toilet, protection from artillery and bullets, and a dry, vermin-free place to sleep. With none of the essentials available to them, they were free to reach for the impossible; why not wrest control of the war-torn environment to create a square foot of beauty? Their gardens were a manifestation of the soldiers’ transcendence of their environment. . .

Soldiers hoped to be spared from death, and they hoped for peace. The familiar cycle of life—birth, growth, maturity, and death—is perhaps nowhere more visible than in a garden, where the cycle plays itself out each season and over years. But the cycle cannot be ignored in battle, where perhaps the strongest emotion is the soldier’s fear of dying. By immersing themselves briefly into a garden world, however small, soldiers maintained contact with the most immediate part of their humanity: that of being alive. . .

Ghetto Gardens: Nazi Europe, 1939–44

Warsaw Ghetto 42 Gesia Street. Site of a garden 1942
Warsaw Ghetto, 2004. Site of Gardens 1942

Life in the ghetto has been studied by many, but no one has investigated how a commonplace aspect of the landscape, the garden, in both its practical and profound aspect, was sustained. But Jan Jagielski, the photo archivist at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, intuited what I meant when I told him I was looking at gardens: I was interested not only in ornamental gardens or just plantings, but in any sign in the ghetto of nature or any sign of the natural world. In response, he pulled out photo after photo of all manner of vegetation from the Warsaw ghetto’s early period (1940–41), before the ghetto was compressed and death was omnipresent. In that early period, the struggle to stay alive included the making of gardens.

Today we find gardens in the Jewish ghettos of World War II an amazing proposition. How were they possible? Still, there were gardens in the four major ghettos of Warsaw and Lodz in Poland, and Kovno and Vilna in Lithuania. . . Gardens, like other aspects of life that could be considered “normal”—going to school, park, or concert, praying, taking a walk, or having enough for dinner—were all present in the ghetto, but only through extraordinary effort. Ghetto residents carted away rubble and scratched into the earth to plant vegetables, nurtured ¬meager trees in the Jewish prison, and created garden sites at Skra, the Warsaw stadium that yielded its playing field to vegetable gardens and ultimately to mass graves. Though short-lived, like the ghettos themselves and their prisoners, ghetto gardens were mechanisms of resistance to the horrific conditions under which people lived. They were acts of hope and defiance. By attempting to create conditions for their survival by creating the gardens, ghetto residents also made for themselves work, relief, solace, and food. To begin to comprehend these gardens, we must first understand the social, material, and psychological conditions under which they were created. . .

Another organization that continued its prewar mission and activities was the Toporol (Towarzystwo Popierania Rolnictwa, Society to Encourage Agriculture among Jews), which since its 1933 founding had trained Jewish agricultural workers in Poland. The Toporol struggled to continue and expand its mission to produce food in the ghettos of Warsaw and Lodz. This required the effort and cooperation of the Jewish community and at least the tolerance of the German authorities. . . Our limited knowledge of the Toporol and its activities is supplemented and described more personally in diaries and memoirs. It is important to bear in mind that, however impressive their activities, like virtually all ghetto actions of survival and resistance, the efforts were valiant, the results meager. Perhaps that makes Toporol gardens even more inspiring. Toporol did everything from acquiring land, seeds, equipment, and funds to mobilizing and training workers. The network created gardens in every imaginable spot of land, even on balconies. They gave away seeds, planted vegetables and trees, and made small parks. The bylaws of CENTOS expressed the part of the group’s mission that went beyond alimentary sustenance: “We are to instill in the children an aesthetic appreciation of their surroundings. . . direct their attention to growing plants that might bring them closer to nature and provide them with aesthetic experiences.”

Stories from the Kovno ghetto illustrate the garden’s promise to nurture the spirit as well as the body. On December 8, 2003, in the YIVO library in New York, I sat listening to Esther Mishkin, a short women with a brilliant smile. She vividly recalled events of sixty years earlier. Her father, Reuben Yitchak, planted a garden on 16 Parvenu Street in the Kovno ghetto. A rabbi and shochet, her father asked his cousin, a pediatrician, if he would make a garden in their yard. Yitchak planted cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes. His daughter could not recall where he got seeds for the garden. “Did you work in the garden?” I asked. “Sometimes,” she said, but added that her father “adopted the whole thing.” She recalls observing her father watching the garden grow. She remembers “him sitting in the garden, his vegetables, it became part of him.” The output was not substantial—he grew only food for their table, but it meant much more. She said it was important that “something was growing there.” About her father she said that watching the garden grow “gives him a feeling that something is growing, that we can survive somehow.” His wish was fulfilled only for his daughter: the remainder of her family died in the Holocaust.. . .

Fear was pervasive. There was little a garden could do to combat this except temporarily assuage the relentless stress. There is a distinction between the garden as a refuge and as a respite. The garden as refuge suggests that it can function as a sanctuary, a place protected from outside forces. A respite is only a temporary material or psychological sanctuary, for one will soon be at the mercy of external conditions that lay siege to one’s shelter. The ghetto gardens offered places of sensory difference, of quiet, shelter, and elements of the natural world. It offered opportunities for calm, a change of mood, even a temporary forgetfulness about one’s conditions. In the ghetto, gardens were only brief respites, but that does not lessen their significance for those moments.

Barbed-Wire Gardens: Allied Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees in Europe and Asia in the World Wars

Drawing by German POW. WWII. Courtesy of Manfred “Fritz” Nassauer, U.S. Soldier

In all POW and civilian internee camps, gardens were subject to the whim of captors: whether they would be allowed or not, whether the produce would be considered part of the rations supplied by the captors, and how much space would be allowed. Gardening organizations in the camps sprang up to marshal prisoners with local knowledge and prior gardening experience, which gave prisoners a leg up on where, how, and what to plant. . . .

Forms of deprivation underlie most punishments, and imprisonment—the loss of freedom through captivity—is the most powerful deprivation. Prisoners are deprived, dehumanized, and placed under tremendous stress. Former World War I POW Horace Gilliland thought that the “whole atmosphere was deliberately contrived to break down the spirit, endurance, and health of the prisoners.” Even the most well adjusted and humanely treated prisoners (who were very rare) will find it difficult to not “go round the bend” or go “stir crazy” from boredom, fear, and anxiety. But people demonstrate exceptional resourcefulness in finding ways to cope with being placed in horrible predicaments. They are compelled to submit to and comply with their captors, but they also find ways to resist and to defy those captors.

In camps where prisoners were not forced to labor, gardening helped overcome boredom by providing purposeful work. As with the mental escape that gardening afforded soldiers on the front lines of World War I and ghetto residents in World War II, POWs and civilian internees also had a mental respite from their captivity and deprived circumstances. .
Gardening’s therapeutic value distinguished it from prisoners’ other activities. In particular, garden making fostered an adjustment to being placed in these extraordinarily “unnatural habitats.” Its produce provided sustenance and variation to diet. The garden helped relieve stress, was an antidote to deprivation, and was a profoundly humanizing activity. As a creative, purposeful activity, gardens engaged all aspects of a person, with an aesthetic as well as practical result.

Gardens and gardening offered prisoners a modicum of control over their situation, one modest way of having authority over their diminished portion of the world and exercising power in an otherwise powerless situation. . .

The common in peacetime often took on uncommon meaning in war. Paradoxically, part of the defiant garden’s meaning and significance is its ordinary quality, its prosaic characteristics. The ordinary implies consistency and predictability, and in that is found a comfort and security. The regularities and anticipations of life—the expectation of the daily cycle (the sun will rise), of seasonal change (winter will end), of the growth of people (I will grow older), and of continuity in the natural world (the trees will grow taller)—all give stability to life. We expect these things as part of our understanding of existence, and when they are disrupted we find it disturbing, even frightening, and debilitating—we lose our equilibrium, in a sense. Such was the case for prisoners. They were subject not only to the immediacy of the whims of guards, but also to forces far beyond their control and even awareness, such as the progress of the war and the disposition of their fates. Tomorrow was nowhere near assured. In such circumstances, what is common, ordinary, homey, or even subconscious may be transformed. The ordinary can become extraordinary, the common uncommon, and that which is taken for granted can become essential. The delight in what is modestly pleasant can become the object of profound gratification. . .

Stone Gardens: Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–45

Garden Plots, Manzanar. July 7, 1942. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, Bancroft Library.

Shoji Nagumo has been called the “father of southern California gardeners.” The first week of December 1941, he, Fujitaro Kubota, and Sam Fucuda were working as gardeners and landscapers in Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. Within two months they would be in assembly camps at the Santa Anita and Tanforan racetracks and Puyallup, Washington (also known as Camp Harmony). Six months later they and thousands of others would be “relocated” to internment camps in remote areas of the American west: Heart Mountain in northern Wyoming, Minidoka in southern Idaho, Manzanar in California’s Owens Valley, Tule Lake in northern California, Gila River and Poston in southern Arizona, Granada in southeast Colorado, Topaz in central Utah, and Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas. Before and after the war they practiced their professions with skill, designing, building, and maintaining gardens and parks throughout the United States. During the war, involuntarily imprisoned by their government along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, they would, under the most difficult of circumstances, create great Ameri¬can gardens. . .

Internees transformed the camps at all scales, from the interiors of barracks to the landscape itself. They planted victory gardens in firebreaks and between barracks and constructed playgrounds and sports facilities for baseball, basketball, and volleyball. At Heart Mountain they diverted water from a canal to make a large earthen swimming pool. They built sidewalks, installed lighting systems, planted trees, and created parks and gardens. The WRA had provided a raw framework for the energy and ingenuity of the inhabitants, who were domesticating an inhospitable environment. . . In a powerful image of the cultural transformation of a wild inhospitable place, at the “Wildlife Preserve” in Minidoka Mr. Nitta “bonsaied” the sagebrush in place. His action domesticated the wild plants, made the wild into a garden, and also made it “Japanese.”. . .

Garden making in the camps was the domestication of an inhospitable environment. Camps were “home,” but only for an indeterminate period. Internees worked to create a cultural setting that fostered a semblance of normalcy under abnormal and unjust conditions. Gardens offered the dignity of work, opportunities for the expression of individual creativity, and a shared cultural identity. The beauty of the gardens offered solace and a contrast with an alien environment. However admirable and beautiful these creations, the frame delineates and completes the picture. The “wall” for all of these gardens was a barbed-wire fence with guard towers, their searchlights and guns pointed inward—as we have seen for ghetto residents, POWs, and civilian internees. All of these gardens, grand and small, were acts of resistance, directed toward the maintenance of cultural integrity and self-respect. They were tangible symbols of hope that helped people survive their internment, fostered their mental and physical health, and were a demonstration of psychological and also political defiance. The gardens further offered an assertion of cultural identity that contrasted dramatically with the conditions of internment and the withholding of basic American freedoms. In a sense the gardens were the anticamp, a subversive response to internment, where individual and collective gestures were a way of denying the camp administration and environment. . . .

Although the phrase spiritual resistance is often applied to the Euro¬pean ghettos of World War II, it holds true for Japanese American internment camps as well. The quality of gaman is akin to resistance. One can even perceive a certain stubbornness in camp behavior. Thrust into this unbearable and ugly situation, the internees not only withstood it but did so with honor and transformed what was ugly into something beautiful. With much pride, Uchida found that people at Topaz “endured the hardship of the evacuation with dignity, stoic composure, disciplined patience, and an amazing resilience of spirit. I think they displayed a level of strength, grace, and courage that is truly remarkable.”

Postwar: Gardens after the War

Union Square, New York City. Sept. 13, 2001. Photography by Sam Helphand

The defiant war gardens we have examined were short-lived, but their duration is not at all proportional to their meaning. In fact, their brief life spans may magnify their significance as we turn to the fate of these war gardens and what the places are like now. That gardens rarely outlive their makers (at least in their original form) is just one of the reasons change is at the essence of garden meaning and experience. Gardens require tending, and without that attention they begin their slow return from a place of culture back to nature, where its rules, cycles, and imperatives are paramount. After the battle, nature returned, on its own or assisted by human activity. Sometimes the restoration of a natural state was rapid, with a single season’s growth obscuring the marks of people on the land. . .

Most images that survived the Warsaw ghetto are of the life—and death—in the streets. They show brutality, starvation, and acts of spiritual resistance. Walking the site of the ghetto today, it takes concerted effort to ignore the modern housing blocks and new streets and imagine the area as it looked during the war, with the crowded streets and courtyards of the ghetto, the crowds who filled the street, even in the winter. I was born three years after the Warsaw ghetto uprising was quelled and the ghetto razed. I knew the history and the site from written descriptions, maps, and photographs. I know that I am stepping on ground where thousands died, that the sidewalk I am walking on is where people stepped over starving children and around dead bodies. I know that here soldiers rounded up families. I know that death was rampant. I know that the sewers beneath the streets were passages for smugglers and escape routes for the few. I know that the full spectrum of human emotions happened right here: unthinkable horror, acts of unimaginable courage, the loss of all faith, and flashes of awareness of a divine presence. I know that on this ground a few people planted seeds to grow food to keep people and their hopes alive. I know that few survived and that fate was random. I know that I am honored to be part of this tradition . .

Such shards of the internment experience are poignant signs of the lives of those who struggled to maintain their dignity and culture and somehow get on with their lives in a place that, against their will, would be their temporary home. The remnants evoke the life that was present there. The dirt streets and wooden barracks are long gone, but remaining are the barracks “welcome mats”—the entry walks, a line of stones or slab of concrete leading, now, from nowhere to nowhere. Many of the hardscape features are decorated, and some have names, addresses, dates, or handprints. The cottonwoods and Chinese elms planted by the internees remain, as do the abandoned Manzanar fruit trees that were incorporated into the camp’s children’s village. . .

In Shinto belief, the spirits of one’s ancestors, or kami, are said to reside in places and natural elements. Stones were favored vessels for their residence. It is easy to think of the stones of camp gardens as the embodiment of the spirit of those who lived and left their imprint on the landscape of the camps in the 1940s. Nature always returns and eventually obscures evidence of human action. It may happen within one season or it may take generations, but eventually culture becomes compost.

Digging Deeper: The Spirit of Defiant Gardens

Defiant gardens surprise us by their presence and persistence. These are gardens against the odds. The fact that they seem out of place is indeed part of their appeal; ultimately, however, these gardens reveal themselves to be supremely adapted to the specifics of their condition. Defiant gardens first astonish by their mere presence, and then they astonish when we recognize the sheer force of will and effort that created and sustained them. Such gardens are interrogative places, prodding us to ask questions: how could that happen, who made this, how did they do it? This book explores what gardens have meant to people in the most extreme of situations, listening to the voices and words of garden makers themselves. . . . the gardens speak, for while they are inanimate they are not mute. In fact, what they have to say to us is quite inspirational.

. . . Gardens domesticate and humanize dehumanized situations. They offer a way to reject suffering, an inherent affirmation and sign of human perseverance. In contrast to war, gardens assert the dignity of life, human and nonhuman, and celebrate it.

In looking at gardens made during the horrors and tribulations of the twentieth-century world wars, we have examined the meaning and significance of gardens particularly in terms of life, home, hope, work, and beauty: gardens are alive, they are a connection to home, they embody hope, and they are places of work and the sites of artistry. These are commonplace themes, but the meaning of each is magnified by the context of war and the garden’s defiant response to conditions. The gardens speak to us, as do garden accounts found in diaries, memoirs, testimonies, and images. They all testify to a depth of garden meaning amplified through hardship, a meaning that may lie latent in all garden creation, awaiting a catalyst to bring it to conscious awareness. . .

As I write and as you read this, war rages on and defiant gardens are created somewhere in the world. It has always been so. In 2004 soldiers from North Dakota of the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion stationed near Tikrit, Iraq, planted gardens with seeds donated from home. Sergeant Bob Syverson and Staff Sergeant Bill Poukka planted sunflowers. Syverson said of the garden, “I thought it’d be kind of [a] homey touch over here,” and revealing a true connection to the landscape of home, he added, “It’d be nice if there was a lawn to mow, too.” Sergeants Justin Wanzek and Carl Quam Jr. decided to plant a garden because “we were missing home, farming, and the joy of growing something.” Neither their Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) nor the supply trucks arriving at their Forward Operating Base (FOB) supplied fresh vegetables, which proved a strong motivation to plant produce. Garden hoses and sprinklers were ill adapted to local conditions, so the soldiers adopted local irrigation and planting techniques, and they learned from local practice how to plant in this arid, sandy environment. They were pleased “just to grow something green out here.” Quam described their North Dakota garden experience as “good family time and maybe in a way, the garden helped me kind of cope with missing them. I caught myself drifting back to home with the four of us all spending quality family time in our garden.” These soldiers’ gardens were made in their limited spare time that Quam described as follows: “At the time of garden prep, planting, weeding and watering, Sgt Wanzek and myself, along with the rest of our crew, were running 4–6 combat patrols a week, in 100–140 degree weather. When we came back to our area, we had a hard time getting motivated to work and weed, but we did. Like I said, it was good therapy to relax after a day of dodging roadside bombs, RPGs and escorting semi trucks full of unexploded ordinance over the worst stretch of road in northern Iraq.”. . .

Psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized that people have a hierarchy of needs, where the more basic needs must be satisfied before the issues of the next level can be properly addressed. Maslow portrayed these as a pyramid. Gardens have a place at both the base of the pyramid, the level of physical survival, and at the apex, the level of self-actualization. The act of garden making, and the meaning that people derive from gardens, prompts us to question Maslow’s premise, because gardens satisfy our needs and desires at all levels, from physical survival to the highest levels of art and cultural achievement. . .

The aesthetic value of gardens supports their image as a place of escape and refuge; on the other hand the sustenance value links gardens to the role they play in building hope and preserving one’s values and ideals even amid unimaginable horrors. An exchange among the members of CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne), the founding collaborative organization of modernist architects, expresses the dual sides of the garden and its possibilities. Polish architect Jersey Soltan, a member of CIAM, reports that the organization had a saying in the 1930s, when Europe was in the grip of rising fascism: “How can one think about roses when the forests are burning?” The group of course had an answer to its own question: “How can you not plant roses when the forests are burning?”Gardens always ask us this most elementary question. For the forests are always burning, and we always both need and want to plant roses.