“Let Us Cultivate Our Garden”

Most people out here in the real west are jonesing to get into their gardens. Cold weather porn has been arriving (see featured photo) in our mailboxes since Christmas. My email is attacked daily with solicitations about growing deer resistant, bee attracting, mosquito repelling gardens this summer.

Meanwhile in Bearadise, the garden is…

For the moment I’m growing cardboard boxes. They’re doing well. One of their main virtues as a winter crop is keeping Bear out of the flower and vegetable beds, especially as they’re frozen to the ground. They are also mulching their little hearts out, attracting and providing a haven for earthworms. We’ve had enough of a melt that the top layer of soil thawed so Bear could to attempt to dig.

My entire yard is a disaster and there’s not much I can do about it considering the proclivities of the giant white creature with whom I live. One of my goals this summer is to put down a small patio and a walkway between the gardens, leaving Bear the back part where her favorite digging spots are. There’s also the chance that if she keeps at it, she’ll extricate two annoying, giant, weedy lilacs.

I garden but I’m not an enthusiast. I can’t help it. I think it’s in my blood. My lack of enthusiasm but commitment to growing things works well for the plants. In the course of my life I’ve had some huge gardens, sometimes very fancy. But at this point I’m most interested in what the plants do. Two years ago I had freakishly huge zucchini plants — and discovered that I don’t like zucchini all that much. Last year at this time I was putting tiny tomato seeds in Jiffy Pots and moving them around to sunny windows. The best thing in my garden last year was my Scarlet Emperor Bean of Song and Story. That bean was a magic ray of hope and a friend during the weeks leading to my hip surgery when I was scared and in a lot of pain. I gave them each a Chinese name — emperor or author. They were amazing to watch grow, and those that went into my garden grew to be 12 feet tall. I didn’t eat them. I wanted their seeds to plant this coming summer.

Hong Li, my first Scarlet Emperor Bean

These regal beans gave me a lot of seeds and I have shared them with friends. This year my garden will have them but also Australian pumpkins. 🙂

Australian pumpkin seeds and Scarlet Emperor Beans

There is something else to my garden that’s very special. When I moved here, there were no gardens. Just a beautiful lawn (that ship has sailed, thanks Bear). Then…

Quotation from Candide outside my garden fence.

My friends, K, who lives next door and E, who lives across the street both garden passionately. As we got to know each other, and they saw that I also have to dig up perfectly nice grass to plant flowers, they shared their “extras.” We now have many of the same flowers in our gardens, lots of iris which grow well here and multiply like crazy.

I thought about that last year when the iris began to bloom in our yards. Sometime in the future when there’s no K, E or M, those flowers will be growing in our yards. Someone could say, “Wow, these gardens all have the same flowers.” And the flowers will whisper a reply, “Yes. The people who lived here were friends.”

13 thoughts on ““Let Us Cultivate Our Garden”

  1. Dogs are the end of fine gardening. For that matter, I’m probably not so great at it either. The dogs have a completely EMPTY front yard. It was not always empty. They have emptied it of anything that had roots and grew. It does not have cartons, but it does have the shreds of what were dog toys. That’s the way they like it. And Duke can just jump out when he feels like it. But he stands at the gate and howls to be let back in. I point out to him if he can jump OUT he can also jump IN, but he still howls. We let him in.

  2. We’ve had a disappointingly mild winter here in TN, Martha, which means I’ll have probably have to start mowing & weedeating in early March if not late February and continue ’til October or, like last year, freakin’ November. I miss the years when I got a full 3 months off from that work.

    Good thing there’s no such thing as climate change, right?

    I watched a good Coen brothers movie this weekend, Inside Llewyn Davis. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it. It’s about a singer/songwriter’s struggles to make it in the 1960s NYC folk music scene & stars Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron in the recent Star Wars movies. I had no idea he could sing, and sing well. I also didn’t know he graduated from Julliard, but he did.

  3. Don’t you miss the smell of dirt!? Sometimes, at this time of year, I grow grass (as in the turf kind) in pots in the kitchen just so I can give it a trim and smell summer. 🙂

  4. Fynn and Makea say that Bear has the perfect garden. Fynn is currently having a lot of fun digging up some kind of stink beatle from the lawn. When he sticks his snout in, they let off an incredible stinky smell, which encourages him more. Also the beatles must be told off at the same time.

  5. I remember the seed catalogs I would drool over in the winter months as a boy. I’d save up my tiny allowance and what wasn’t spent on model rockets would go into a few packages of seeds. I was a terrible gardener but I loved the possibilities those seeds held out. Only thing I was ever any good at was sunflowers.

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