Garden Envy


A photo of Mishelle ShepardI want it big. I want it beautiful. I want it NOW! I am not by nature a competitive person, or particularly greedy or selfish, at least I like to think so. But I am already beyond impatient to have the garden of my dreams: voluptuous veggies that make your mouth water at first sight, luscious herbs whose aroma penetrates the entire room, exotic flowers whose beauty could make you weep. A magical place somewhere between my two favorite childhood books: The Secret Garden, and Where the Wild Things Are. Why is it those things you most desire take the longest to realize?

In the South it’s already time to order seeds and pre-plan the spring garden. We’re not even a year here yet, and at the beginning I promised I would cut myself some slack regarding my inevitable crop failures. I said I’d be happy with whatever I managed to get, I am laughably inexperienced, after all. I gaze at the neighbors’ perfectly manicured and vole-free, rabbit-proof garden plot producing an ample surplus of my own failures: winter squash and green beans galore, pecks of perfect peppers. They have all been gardeners for decades, obviously I cannot compare my own measly efforts to theirs, but of course, I do. They are happy to offer advice, but it’s hard sometimes to listen when you are so eager to just DO.

Handy hubby must realize to what degree I am in way over my head. For reasons I am not entirely sure, he seems enthusiastic to help me along. Is it his love for fresh veggies or for me that has him losing sleep over greenhouse designs and irrigation systems? Or maybe he is afraid the famous Southern expression might otherwise apply to us: When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

I would ask him, but what if by asking, he starts to question that himself, and that line of questioning then leads him to the realization he would rather spend the time, money and effort on his future workshop. So, I’ll quietly and quite gladly take whatever help I can get. Maybe I’ll even slow down this time, learn to ask more, and maybe even try again to listen to the voices of experience.

2/18/2010 8:08:06 PM

Just remember: One garden tomatoe is worth 20 from the store :-).

2/5/2010 11:52:07 AM

Thanks Nebraska Dave for the well wishes! Y'all are VERY brave up there!

Nebraska Dave
1/26/2010 12:17:49 PM

Mishelle, I feel your pain. It’s been a dreary Winter season here in Nebraska. Today the sun finally broke forth and everyone’s temperament is much better. I too long for those Spring time days when the plants are budding and the grass is greening, and Spring time bulbs are flowering. Many times I yearn for the time when I can sit on the patio and sip my morning coffee while listening to the birds declaring what a wonderful day it will be. I’m anticipating the first day of digging in the dirt, planting vines for those wonderful juicy red globes of tomato taste, cultivating multicolored peppers, and harvesting those yummy cucumbers. Many summer projects taunt my patience with waiting for warmer weather. I guess I’ll just have to suffer through the next couple months before anything productive begins. Don’t be discouraged about how the neighbor’s garden looks. I’ve been at this gardening for decades and still I’m trying to overcome the black thumb syndrome. Some years are good and other years are bad. Persistence is the key to success. I’m not sure about what all will be in the garden this year but I know if I try lettuce and other green plants, it will be a smorgasbord magnet for every known creature in the neighborhood. I also know that if I decide to grow sweet corn the word goes out all across that land to every squirrel and raccoon clan to come eat at Old Dave’s place. I envy your early start in the South. Nebraska Dave

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