Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why we garden

I don’t consider either of us to be particularly good gardeners. Over the course of our 20 years together, we've tried hard to make the place look good, adding trees and vines and lawn, but the truth of it is, we don’t have much passion for maintaining our landscaping the way it requires. Or better yet deserves. Our front yard has lawn that belies the fact that we carried hundreds of 50 pound rolls of sod in through a narrow front gate seventeen years ago. And a good third of it stills show the devastation of our septic system replacement. But nature has put a kindly arm around our shoulders and dropped an at will tree here, and allowed some of our original plantings to flourish, so that the net result is a pleasant, shady place to spend an afternoon, putting your feet up and watching the birds in the feeder. In other words, it’s a nice oasis.

Where we do succeed though is in our summertime vegetable garden. We have about 100 square feet in raised beds out back and over the course of the last 9 years we've slowly learned and refined our little patch to know what works and what doesn't.  We've gone through many different plans and attempts and approaches, before finally arriving last year at the kind of success that meant we simply had too many tomatoes to eat.

More importantly, our garden has become a place of peace and quiet. “Let’s inspect the garden” is now the catchphrase for sitting out there after the evening chores, watching the sun paint large shadows across the beds and feeling the heat of the afternoon slowly ebb away. Sometimes there is a breeze, sometimes the sky is filled with puffy white clouds that change to pink as the sun disappears. Occasionally a Goldfinch will land on the tomato cages and preen while his cousins the hummingbirds do aerial battles overhead. In short, no matter how bad the day was, there is always the garden to bring you back to center.

Every year I intend to write a journal about our garden – when did we plant, where did we get the plants, how has the irrigation worked, when did things come into bloom and fruit – and every year I forget. So this year, I’m going to do it here and hopefully have a decent record for the future. We’ll see how well I stick to the plan, when I could be sitting out back instead.

2004 – The Beginning

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