Today is the day I’ve set aside to (finally) go outside and tend to my garden. I really need to get the sweet peas planted and start the lettuce/spinach before much longer. My garden takes up much of my mental/physical energy but I think it gives back as much as it takes. One of my favorite things to do is walk the perimeter and note the changes in the plants from season to season and day to day. If you pay attention, most plants have character, like people, only silent. I like that too. I have enough voices going on inside my head, sometimes I need the silence.
I am one of the people who tends to personify things. I’ll be the crazy old lady at the end of the block who talks not only to her cats, but her begonias. Where I live, gardening is a round the year pursuit and although I may complain from time to time or even despair of keeping up, particularly in June, July, I love it.
When we moved into this house, there were eight fruit trees, a sickly azalea, two birds of paradise and a clump of Canna (SO saved the Canna. I consider them messy weeds–but in this case, he was right, they’ve stayed put and are quite pretty) and the rest was a wonderful blank slate which I filled with enthusiasm and many charts and graphs (which I’ve filed and havent’ looked at in a year at least)
Five of the trees I love; three I only tolerate. Two of those are grapefruit, I don’t like grapefruit and these trees are prodigious producers of the large melon like fruit. Seriously, don’t stand under the trees when the fruit fall, you could get a concussion. Of course the fruit aren’t suppose to fall, but have you ever tried to pick citrus? You can’t, you have to cut it and I also don’t like heights very much. I recently discovered just how good grapefruit juice is for you so I’ve begun drinking a glass almost every morning (like a shot of whiskey) I’ve been very tempted to cut one of the trees down because even with the juice consumption, who needs two trees of fruit I don’t like to eat? The problem? These trees have character and I spent too much of my childhood in Narnia. But really, the symmetry and elegance of the one most likely to be cut, is something I really do enjoy just standing and observing, like a work of art.
The third tree is avocado. And no, I don’t want to hear how wonderful avocado is, I don’t like it. And the avocado, well, only 5 fruit last year and as I’ve been looking at almond trees with something like greed, it better get busy or else. Actually, the Avocado shades the area I designated for my vegetable garden, a cardinal no no. It also drops its leaves at odd times during the year into my little koi pond. Another no no. Did I know how much work I was getting myself into when I said, lets dig a pond? NO. Logically, the tree should go, but it survived a hellish winter when everyone said it would die and well, it seemed like it would and it didn’t. Seems a shame to kill it now, right? I’ll keep you posted on that one because I may change my mind, probably next spring when I’m trawling the fish pond.
The last five trees are plum, apricot, peach, orange and tangerine. And so far, I love them each in a different way. I’m exploring all kinds of recipes, havent’ tried most of them out, but I have a file. I also have fresh juice any time I want it during the cold months and almost year around, when the kids want a snack, I can tell them to go pick one. Nice. Did try making fruit rolls ups… er, um, don’t think I’ll try that one again, there’s a reason it’s also called fruit leather.
It’s the almost year around thing that is getting me in trouble. January is seed/plant catalog month and I’ve been getting my share. Besides looking at the interesting vegetables (do you know there are multi-colored carrots?… do you think the kids would eat them, I mean out of curiosity?) I’ve been looking at blueberry bushes. I have one and had no idea how much I liked blueberries. I’ve only ever had store bought. I’d like another. Mine ripens in early May, about the same time as strawberries. Yum, first fresh fruit of the year. I have Top Hat, which is an ornamental, 18″ or so. I’d like one that’s about 4′, more berries, maybe enough to freeze. And then I saw the apple trees, the columnar apple trees. Lets face it, I don’t have room for more full size trees unless I take out the perennial garden and I won’t. Apples ripen in Sept/Oct, between the fruit and citrus. Joy! Perfect! Wait! More work, do I dare? The verdict is still out on that one.
Did I mention I bought a banana tree? Yes, for the patio. Home grown bananas. It will be here in a few months so I have time to prepare. Some women buy shoes on impulse, I buy plants.
And now, Id’ better put on some warm clothes, grab my shovel and well, dig, fertilize and plant to my heart’s content.