"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"...Alfred Austin; British scholar, politican and "plein air" poet.
Weedy and a bit overwhelmed.
Every week I tell people how to garden. However my own garden is having a bit of an existential crisis. I'm not sure I know how to garden anymore. At least for myself.
In Kansas I was on the cutting edge with my front yard kitchen garden. And now I feel like I'm running behind all the exciting horticultural trends while living in this conventional, often snow-covered, cul de sac somewhere in the suburbs of Minneapolis.
It was more than weather and climate that changed my gardening goals when we moved to Minnesota. Our famiy was changing. And those all-important family dinners from the garden that I orchestrated with such aplumb are now just delicious memories.
With a short season and shade, not to mention the curse of the cottonwood tree, I struggle to harvest a tiny increment of what I did before. And even when what seems like a thousand cherry tomatoes ripen before my eyes, I wonder why I even planted them. Hopefully I'll make my favorite roasted cherry tomato pasta. (Click to read the recipe in the post Do You Suffer From Cherry Tomato Guilt?)
But will anyone be home to eat it?
My son's schedule is mercurial at best, fluid with the whims of the latest text. Then two weeks from now he'll be moving to his new school, excited to be transferring to Case Western Reserve University in Ohio where he hopes to have a more fulfilling experience after "feeling like a number" at the U of MN just across the river. No more impromptu Sunday dinners at home for awhile.
My husband's schedule is frequently set in stone by the powers that be six months ago. But more often than not he just wants to go out, that same need for novelty and adventure that makes him so successful in business makes dinner at home for too many days, not so appealing.
During summers home from grad school, my daughter, an enthusiastic cook and food blogger, loves fresh produce; radishes to rhubarb and all things in between. Lately she's the one who rattles pans and rustles up dinner, that is, when we can get everyone on board. We come back from the farmers market with bags bigger than our ambitions.
Yet there's something about walking out the door and having that hand-picked moment. So I keep planting.
Meanwhile the trees, shrubs and perennials are overgrown and weighed down with bindweed and "morning not-so-glorious". The weeds are Jurassic this summer after the tropical heat and torrential rain. I realize the garden is too big and too hilly to remain sustainable in my gardening future. I long for a smaller, flatter lot in a real neighborhood where people walk by and stop to chat about what's blooming.
Too bad that faint whistling is the sound of Minnesota home prices dropping and not a benevolent breeze. After so many moves that weren't my idea, I can't move when it is.
Cul de sacs are coveted for their quiet and privacy but I should have taken note of the other terms used for such an arrangement. Dead end. Impasse.
Thank goodness the turkeys and other critters pass through, at least I can still feed someone by planting wildlife habitat.
This blog is one way I'm able to continue sharing my garden in spite of the non-existent traffic in front of my home. On this two year blog-aversary, thanks for turning around in my cul de sac, even if only online.