Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pause to Praise the Garden

   I garden for a million and a half reasons. In the garden I find poetry, purpose, art, science, sustenance, exercise, rest, imagination, miracles, defeat, and hope. Lots of my like-minded friends are fond of saying that the garden is all sex and death, and I absolutely agree.

   It's mid-October now, and Oklahoma is moving gently into autumn while trying not to think too much about the fierce winter predicted. While most of the growing and harvesting activity is tapering off, plenty is still happening if you pay attention. And a lot of it is edible. See these gorgeous hot peppers? All harvested this past week. And about ten times as many are still green, on the plants. Plus bell peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. I am not even kidding you. I know.

   Don't even get me STARTED on the herbs and all the beauty and potential there. Swoon.

   Well, a few days ago I was taking stock of the herb garden, just sort of checking things out and maybe planning a few things in my head... when I got the nicest surprise. The marigold plants had all grown pretty big and fluffy, and more than half of the orange blooms were going to seed. So I stooped down to collect them into an empty mushroom tray and squat-scooted around the garden, exploring. That is when I found a stray watermelon vine, still bright green and well hydrated! Overly excited, like I was on a spontaneous Easter egg hunt or something, I followed it out from the plant.

   Somehow, at summer's end, I had missed a whole, beautiful, unmarred watermelon! Tucked discreetly behind a thick boxwood shrub sat a heavy, striped, dark green watermelon about the size of a volleyball. They curcilue strand of stem directly above it was brown and crispy. This is the surest sign I know that the fruit is ripe. So I snapped the stem and carried my little green baby into the kitchen, more or less dancing all the way.

   A few good whacks from a butcher knife, plus a few scoops with a spoon to remove the plenteous seeds, and I had this beautiful bounty...

   I'm just so happy about this!

   In a few short minutes, without even breaking a sweat, I was rewarded with all of this:

  • a neater flower edge in the herb garden (from deadheading marigolds)
  • marigold seeds to dry and keep for next spring
  • a juicy, healthy, practically FREE snack for me to nibble
  • sweet, crunchy, delicious snack for my horse! (Chanta LOVES watermelon rinds. LOVES em.)
  • watermelon seeds for next summer

   Truly, instead of trying to answer why DO people garden, I wonder why more people DON'T. Next to reading, it is the most complex and rewarding solitary activity I can imagine.

   Okay. Back to Tiny T soon! Thanks for stopping in!

Grow Yourself Something Wonderful


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