Candidly, I’m not the gardener in our household, but I still have to pitch in with the work. Let me look on the bright side. Plus, when it comes to dining, I definitely enjoy the benefits.
- There’s less grass to mow, thanks to the beds that take up at least half of what would have otherwise been lawn.
- The sequence of blossoms and produce give me a heightened seasonal awareness. Every week is different, from mid-March as far as mid-November, in the progression of blossoms .
- The selections and placement of plants reveals my wife’s mind with its shifting palate of color. She designs English-style clumps, unlike my straight rows. Yes, it really can be a feast for the eyes, even as we look out from our windows.
- Asparagus, in a permanent bed, is a delight to cut and eat almost immediately each day through the month of May. It’s the first of our you-can’t-buy-it-this-fresh revelations and reminds me of my years of living in the Yakima Valley of Washington state, where it sprouted like a weed. There, our goal was to sate our taste buds for the coming year. Besides, the delicate ferns are stunning foliage all summer.
- Fresh greens. Salads, especially.
- Berries, starting with strawberries and extending into blueberries and raspberries. We also have a bank of currants.
- Real tomatoes, not the poor substitute you find at the supermarket. We always raise a variety of sizes and shapes, and you’d be surprised how much their flavor varies. One year, I think we had 14 different kinds. Nothing surpasses a tomato and mayo sandwich every day through August and much of September. The king of France should have been envious. You can forget the bacon or even lettuce, as far as I’m concerned, they detract from the star attraction. Again, it’s enjoy it while it’s so gloriously available. (We also freeze a lot for deep winter – the soup, especially, can be heavenly while you watch the snow fall.)
- Weeding, which I’d normally avoid, has become a quick means to collect food for the rabbits, which they so greedily and efficiently compost.
- Which brings up composting, a lesson in patience and the importance of worms, as I feel virtuous in turning what would have otherwise gone to the landfill into a miracle mixture that’s revived much of our property from what my wife termed “dead dirt” into something soft, pliant, and fertile.
- Hummingbirds. They make their rounds through everything flowering, but you have to be alert to see them. Sometimes they’re even right behind your back.
Well, gardening does also serve as an item of conversation.
What would you add?