A collection of my newspaper columns, essays and mental meanderings about motherhood, friendship, social encounters, politics and a world that goes bump in its fright.

Monday, June 23, 2008


This weekend I finally gave up. I have decided to let the bindweed bind, the pig weed oink and the Bermuda grass grow all the way back to Bermuda if it so desires. The little rectangle I had called -- with great hope and sense of purpose -- a "garden" just a few weeks ago is now released to become whatever it will, which is probably just more badly maintained lawn like the rest of my yard.

Nature, my schedule and a bad wrist conspired to bring me to this turn of events. In May I had lots of small plants in pots, ready for the soil my occasional landscape guy had so diligently tilled for me. Then the rains came. And came, and came and came. When I was 5 I would have loved the pool of gumbo all that water and all that soil became. Now? Not so much. And it was simply not the kind of place you'd want to maroon a sweet little tomato plant.

So I bought large containers and bigger bags of soil, trying all the while to ignore the voice sniping in my head. "Now that's just about ridiculous, paying for topsoil when you have a ton of it sitting right over there ..." "You know, if you were actually trying to raise food to feed anyone, you'd all be on the brink of starvation right about now ..."

Thank you for sharing. Now shut up.

Actually, this process has made me even more appreciative of the people who do manage to make this soil and seed and rain and shine stuff work and actually do bring food to market. I noticed that our local farmer's market -- provided by people who live in roughly the same geographic area as I do -- was loaded with vegetables. How is it that they managed to get seeds in the ground and starts started when I just sat on my porch drinking a microbrew and wishing I could get in the garden?

I'll blame it on my wrist. I had carpal tunnel surgery in April and just couldn't wield a shovel with my usual level of enthusiasm. That and my schedule. Killer, I'm tellin' ya. Just an absolute killer. Never a moment to spare. Except, of course, the occasional microbrew and half hour or so sitting on the porch with my foot on the railing and some nice accompaniment on the iPod.

Reluctantly, I may have to conclude that my most fitting role in gardening is that of appreciator, a sort of garden fan, full of profuse praise for cucumbers someone else has raised, vociferously thrilled with the tomatoes of another's labor and happy to sprinkle a couple of contained peppers and basil with sufficient water to keep them from croaking in full view of the neighbors.

Hey, everyone needs a cheerleader, don't they?

Rah, rah, ree, sorry 'bout your knee;
Rah, rah, rass, Dude, I think that's grass ....


Anonymous Jim Long said...

It's ok to not garden, and still write about, and edit gardening. I know others who do that. Pat Stone, editor of GreenPrints magazine, which is stories about gardening, but not gardening itself. He says he actually hates gardening, and his garden reveals the truth in that. I believe gardening should be fun, or not at all, and with a clean conscience either way. Good for you...be free to not garden.

11:59 AM

Anonymous Michele said...

Just found this blog via a link from rareseeds.com. What a find!


8:04 PM

Anonymous Laura H. Garcia said...

Don't underestimate yourself, oh garden-cheerleader potted-herbalista YOU. you contribute to gardens around the country, if not the globe with your prose and editing. Those are the seeds that will bear the biggest, juiciest fruit! ;-)

8:50 PM


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