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Section XIII-Garden Walk with Sam

When I go off for a few days I usually pack a few apples and a bit of seed cake. It's simple fare and travels well. If I'm just gone for a few hours, which occasionally stretches into the day, I may or may not remember apples. Sam, on the other hand, always brings along bread, cheese, apples, and seed cake. I'm afraid he is fattening me up, for what, I can't begin to guess. He really is such a mother hen, but I don't really mind it.

Our next excursion out, we ended up wandering no further than Hobbiton itself. We stopped at almost every garden. Sam thought it might help if I knew more about the cultivated plants of the Shire. We discussed the merits and flaws of almost every patch of ground. Learned about plants that work well together and plants that don't. Never realized the leafy creatures could be so particular. Also found that some set each other off, bringing out the best in each other and some bring out the worst. Gardening really is quite a complicated affair.

Sam says you can tell a lot about a person by their garden. Are they neat and well kept or cluttered and weedy? I wondered aloud if perhaps it wasn't so much the person it told about as their like or dislike for gardening. Sam gave me such a look, as though the thought were absurd, though he'd never say it. He could only manage sputtering out "Not like gardening?" I swallowed my smile. I desperately did not want to laugh at him for I feared he might take it wrong, so I asked him why rose bushes in one garden would be bursting with blossoms while just one garden over the bush would have but few. He thought for a moment and then surprised me by first saying that he supposed there were them that didn't take to gardening like he did. I let the smile steal across my lips. He then answered my question that roses need to be kept trimmed up. Old blossoms must be removed to make way for new ones. They need proper seeing to, it seems left to themselves they don't thrive.

I've noticed that most of the gardens are already spent for the year. It gives me pause to realize that the gardens at Bag End seem to last longer and start sooner than most, though I haven't given it much thought before. Sam says there's no magic involved. His Gaffer taught him what plants last later into the season and what starts early. He rotates them around keeping the garden in bloom pretty near year round. Didn't find anything we wanted to add to Bag End yet, but there's still a little time for that. We did find quite a bit we didn't want at Bag End though, plant and arrangement wise.