Archive for the 'garden' Category
The garden is an overgrown tangle. Half the tomatoes sprawl un-staked on the ground with some of their fruit nibbled on by slugs and chipmunks. Powdery mildew is rampant on the summer squash and cucumber plants. The grass is tall and the edges and details are even shaggier since the push mower stopped working and I have yet to make an accurate diagnosis.
There are seven-foot-high sunflowers with weeds between their toes, bug-eaten leaves on the amaranth, zinnias past their prime, basil that is going to seed. The space left empty after harvesting the garlic has weeds encroaching and the pathways barely have any mulch showing through the crabgrass and dandelions. There are large flat insects eating the beans. I haven’t watered.
But I love it. I love it all. I love the chaos and generosity of it. I love the tall grass. I don’t care that the asparagus ferns are flopped over in an ungainly slump — they’re thriving. The whole garden is.
And the part of me that is a wild curious child is thriving too. I’m ignoring the voice of the inner perfectionist who wants me to look at the garden only with a corrective eye, counting off the problems that need fixing. Instead I’m looking with my child eyes. Seeing the garden as its true self — messy, generous, creative and unleashed. My Eden. Ungainly and glorious.
Spring seems to have sprung, and then come unhinged. The peonies, gorgeous beyond gorgeousness last week, are now flopped soggy in the grass. The irises have left ugly seed pods on their stems, and everything needs a haircut. Again. It’s only been four days since the last one.
Instead of weeping over the mess and the never-ending mowing chore, I choose denial. I’m going to focus on the tiny tidy details.
Here are some (tidy) pictures from the past weeks.
Yesterday I had the door open and all day in the background was the sound of leaves rustling across the ground. Labor Day brought with it the orange undertone that creeps into everything green. Even the light is getting that low angled rust color to it and the squirrels and I are rushing to hoard the end of summer bounty.
In among tomatoes of every shape and size, the first little Benning’s Patty Pan squash. Fresh light green, to remind me that in the not too distant future it will all start over with spring.
My stash of frozen tomato sauce was parsed out over the winter and spring, and I defrosted the last jar just as the new tomato crop started to color.
I want more jars of sauce in the freezer this winter, and planted twice as many tomato plants, but we’ll see how many tomatoes get into the sauce pot once leaf spot diseases and tomato sandwiches have had their way.
Thank goodness there’s always the local farm stand.
How it stands there against the dark
of this late rainy hour, young and clean,
swaying its generous branches
yet absorbed in its essence as rose;
with wide-open flowers already appearing,
each unsought and each uncared-for.
So, endlessly exceeding itself
and ineffably from itself come forth,
it calls the wanderer, who in evening contemplation
passes on the road:
Oh see me standing here, see how unafraid I am
and unprotected. I have all I need.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Seen only feet from these newly planted sweet young things…
Needless to say, she is not alone. This morning I saw a baby bunny inside the vegetable garden. At least the little ones run away fast and give me some sense of righteous satisfaction.
I am connecting with my inner Farmer McGregor, and dreaming of electric fences.
Your worst enemy cannot harm you
as much as your own unguarded thoughts.
Weeding the asparagus patch, it strikes me how much like thoughts weeds are; ubiquitous, tough and insidious.
Now that I tend a garden I’ve discovered that weeds are clever, growing as close to a ‘good’ plant as possible, twining in and around the stalks and leaves, making it difficult to tease them out. My thoughts twist together as well, the undermining, repetitive, hopeless ideas tangled up with the useful, helpful, hopeful ones.
So I weed carefully, and I meditate. I can’t get rid of all the weeds, or of my negative thinking, but I can tease out the difference between constructive and negative thoughts, between the ground ivy and the asparagus, making room for sunshine and water.