"We're just water, soil and sunshine": Garden Songs

Though the garden season is just beginning, it’s time to bring Garden, Farming and Food month at KIRBC to a close, and what better way to do it with a little music?

At the risk of getting too sentimental on you, I’ve decided to share a song my musician boyfriend wrote about my garden. Have a listen, not just because it makes me a bit teary, but because I think he captures the gardener’s frame of mind, connection with the land, and the passage of the seasons so beautifully. So here it is, “Albany Botanical,” written and performed by Jordan Venn:

Want more Jordan Venn? You can get a taste of his rock ‘n’ roll on his website and at fine music venues around Toronto as Jordan Venn and the Slizneys.

But what of other garden tunes? In my interview with garden guru Gayla Trail, she pointed me to her list of gardening songs, which you should definitely check out. I’ve made my own preliminary list on Grooveshark, which you can listen to below! Probably you saw the abundance of Sarah Harmer coming, but what can I say, the lady gets it. The list opens with her “Escarpment Blues” because I can’t tell you how many times my garden has brought me back to these lines:  “We’re two-thirds water, / What do we really need / But sun, showers, soil and seed?” The rest of the list alternates between upbeat and mellow, with a common thread of sunshine and outdoor living.
Garden Songs by JK on Grooveshark

And if you’ve listened through to the end of the playlist, you’ll get through to “Trouble in the Fields,” Sarah Harmer’s gorgeous Nanci Griffith cover. I got to hear it live at Foodstock last October, when Sarah played it to a crowd of farmers and foodies, huddled in the rain, at this incredible event organized to stop the Mega Quarry that threatens their livelihoods and the food we eat. And even though it was cold and wet and we were there under unhappy circumstances, the crowd livened up at these lines, cheering their support, showing their spirit:

“You be the mule, I’ll be the plow,
Come harvest time we’ll work it out,
There’s still a lot of love here in these troubled fields.”

And those still all-too-relevant words are really the lasting message of GFF month, and of most of the reading that I do. It’s not easy to do what’s right by the earth, by plants and animals and each other, even to sprout a damn hot pepper seed, but there’s a lot of love to keep us going.

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3 comments to “We’re just water, soil and sunshine”: Garden Songs

  • Jen, you are one lucky girl. That song by your boyfriend was sweet and good. He reminds me a little of Counting Crows, one of my favourite bands.

    And hey, doesn’t Margaret Atwood have some gardening songs from Year of the Flood? :)

  • Also, I loved the Sarah Harmer song. It’s a bit of country, which I’m not actually partial to, but also a bit of sitting underneath my old Lone Pine on the hill of our ten acres where I grew up, chewing grass and reading novels and listening to birds and letting the sun paint my cheeks.


  • Dee

    This post makes me feel warm and sunshiny. Thanks so much for sharing this music!

    PS – I see you’re reading Fauna by Alissa York. I loved it, and our book club had the pleasure of hosting Ms. York for a discussion last year. She’s incredibly personable and kind. Hope you enjoy it!

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