In the Garden
We all need a little hope and healing these days. Earth Day provided me with that when I became John’s assistant in our garden. Since I had played the role of Mother Nature in my first grade play, I figured I might have some as yet undiscovered gardening talents!
We started by envisioning what our garden could be. Except for growing herbs, we had not planted any edible plants in many decades. Maybe that time had come.
We ordered some starters of spinach, kale, lettuce, asparagus, cauliflower, and squash and repurposed some flower planters for our fledgling vegetables. I did my part to give them good soil, water, and hopefully a placement with just the right amount of sun and shade.
As I was being my best gardener self, I channeled my Italian maternal grandparents. I was especially remembering their garden in Fairfax, California. It had a small vineyard (my grandfather made his own wine), a large vegetable garden with artichokes, fava beans, lettuces, herbs–especially lots of basil for pesto–a magnificent fig tree, apple trees, and more. I hope some of those good gardening genes have carried on.
Everyday since our planting day, I have gone out a few times each day to talk with the plants and see how each is doing. So far, good news!
As a part of my new interest, I’m enjoying books about gardening that have been on my shelf for a long time. One is Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul by local artist and garden designer Elizabeth Murray. I’m also ordering seeds for vegetables, flowers and herbs from Hudson Valley Seed Company; these seeds come in “art packs” that have been designed by contemporary artists. I’m even being the one to call local nurseries to see what they might have in stock for our next planting day.
I have also brought into the house a print I gave to John years ago. It includes the following translation of a poem by Johann Wolfgang Goethe that seems particularly appropriate for us right now:
Wide and beautiful is the world
but I am thankful to heaven
that I have a little garden,
modest and charming, my own.
Take me again to my home.
Why should a gardener travel?
Tend your own garden, it brings
honor and pleasure to you.
I don’t know where any of this will lead. If we are lucky, it could lead to some wonderful meals of home grown salads and vegetable casseroles. It will certainly lead to more learning for me and to being thankful for our little garden of new life, nurturance, and hope.