Saturday, November 22, 2008
This morning I went down to the garden to see what was growing there. No... the sunflowers did not come up. No ...the herb recao volunteers have not returned. Hum...I ponder...I look...I pull lots of weeds. I think one day my garden will really be that-a garden, that is- but lately, I approach it sporadically and with acceptance. The beef-eater tomatoes are in trouble- one plant down and one to go...maybe I shouldn't have overlooked the name? I move the remaining one to another place hoping that it will get more sun and more reason to fight-because fight it must. The rosemary bush is thriving; recently, I cut off the top 10 inches and made an arrangement in the kitchen-all week I wanted to eat Italian food! The gardenia bush is green and gaining girth; the ginger stalks are pushing through its gaps racing for sun. The avocado tree has broken through its pot and asserts itself in the temporary location. There is a light green waxy succulent plant that I found discarded and I took it home; it has revived in the base of a hollowed out ceiba tree trunk. There are some malanga root plants at the foot of the garden, I didn't plant them and they remind me of intruders. I tell myself that it's not their fault that Sr. Casto, the property owner, used them as a tool to prevent further encroachment into his land. I guess he wanted to tell me/show me that this land was his land...and not my land. I hear, "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island...from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters...this land was made for you and me." I don't think the inclusive spirit of this song expresses quite the right tone. Recently, I started all of the seeds I had left over from the last couple of years. Of the seedlings, only the tomatoes and peppers have survived. Why? Here is my confession: A beautiful butter yellow pregnant cat was terrified to death by my nine dogs. I ran out at 2am to scoop her up in my arms and place her in the makeshift greenhouse-formerly known as the pig house-where she laid down for her final rest. Okay, I did not have the nerve to go back there again once I discovered her death so for two weeks my plant seedlings went without water...as I waited for the cat to decompose. After my courage returned, I went to the aversive scene and did my best to revive the plants with poor result. Now, my friend Mark has given me his extra seeds and I warily read the packages: red noodle beans (hand written), Armenian Yard Long cucumber, Evergreen Bunching Onion, Stringless Blue Lake Pole Beans, Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes, asparagus (ASO12 UC 157 F2) Hybrid, and a summer squash, Tromboncino, a novelty zucchini. They come from these seed companies: Ferry-Morse, Livingston Seed Co., Lilly Miller, Johnny's Selected Seeds and the Territorial Seed Company. I'm communicating these details so that you might be able to feel what I do when he asks me, "Did you plant the seeds, yet?" I will. It's just that I have to make peace with the ones that didn't make it. I have to accept the responsibility of a new attempt, buy more dirt, and communicate with the garden memory ghost! I know I will get the hang of gardening in the tropics; just as I once learned to garden in southern California... and Michigan. It's true that every place has its temperament which has little to do with weather; I imagine it takes a while for the land to welcome a stranger's hand. The traditional Cherokee have a ritual of asking the land to welcome the seeds while minimally disturbing the soil...I think I'll try that. I know that one day the earth will respond to me-via the plants- the day I finally give la tierra what it needs. Meanwhile, I ruminate, I ponder and now, I pontificate on my seemingly futile gardening efforts.