Vita Sackville-West on the Humble or Sensitive Plant


Last night I couldn’t sleep so I grabbed a book from the bedside bookcase. I’ve been reading Sackville-West’s In Your Garden Again off and on for the past few weeks and it has all kinds of things I always mean to mention here but, by the time I’ve finally fallen asleep and come to in the morning—I’ve totally forgotten whatever it was I was thinking about sharing!

The sections of the book are divided into the twelve months of the year and are filled with articles she contributed to Sunday editions of The Observer between February 18, 1951 to March 8, 1953.

When I read this last night I knew I had to share this on my blog. As a foster parent who works in the garden with kids, this cracked me up and I hope you enjoy it too:

February 17, 1952
       Amongst other seeds for spring sowing I order a sixpenny packet of Mimosa pudica, the Humble Plant…. So humble is the Humble Plant, so bashful, that a mere touch of the finger or a puff of breath blown across it will cause it to collapse instantly into a woebegone heap…. One grows it purely for the purpose of amusing the children. The normal child, if not an insufferable prig, thoroughly enjoys being unkind to something; so here is a harmless outlet for this instinct in the human young. Shrieks of delight are evoked, enhanced by the sadistic pleasure of doing it over and over again. ‘Let’s go back and see if it has sat up yet.’ It probably has, for it seems to be endowed with endless patience under such mischievous persecution.

Vita Sackville-West,  In Your Garden Again
Vita Sackville-West, by William Strang

4 thoughts on “Vita Sackville-West on the Humble or Sensitive Plant

  1. Classic 'Vita'…!
    It's fun to see the alluring image of her at a time in her life, perhaps, when Virginia found her most attractive.
    I've been wallowing in all things Bloomsbury, sort of adjacent to Vita, if you will,
    reviewing and reposting images of my visits to the Woolfs' Monk's House and Vanessa's Charleston Farmhouse. I'd visit every year, if I could.
    Happy to see you had such a lovely Christmas.
    Good for you!!!


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