Jenna Lynch on Writing “Gardening”

This poem actually started out as the first part of a sequence I was working on as an assignment for a seminar in graduate school. The prompt was to write about an imagined home in various stages of occupancy. I chose first to write about the importance of the garden because my vision was of a home belonging to a young couple in love. I wanted the piece to be a sort of domestic love poem, but one that speaks to love through the couples’ desire to use things up to the very last drop; the sensuality that can emerge from everyday life and our engagement with our surroundings.

Since I was living in Eugene, Oregon at the time, I drew a lot upon the landscape of the West Coast. The importance of naming things and giving each plant and flower a purpose and identity was crucial to my process. What I really hoped to capture in the lines was the pleasure and brightness of the natural world and its ability to give us each a history.
I have since abandoned the other parts of the sequence; this poem stood so well on its own. However, maybe I’ll revisit the house I imagined once (whose street name, Birdsall Drive, I borrowed from that of a dear friend growing up) and see who and what I might find there now.

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