Okay, yes, this post is about my garden. I assured my friend that I wouldn’t write any silly garden posts (this being my own self-imposed standard, not hers). Well, I should have known that my garden would make an appearance at some point. She (my friend, not my garden – haha) probably knew it would too. If I’m going to have a Favorite Little Things category, I just cannot ignore the miracle that exists right in my back yard. When I use the term miracle, I mean it! The fact that so much increase can come from a tiny little seed covered up in the dirt; add water and sunshine and healthy, sustaining food is born! Miraculous!
For the last couple of summers it has seemed like my gardens have had a mind of their own, making little sense of all the little tricks I’ve learned by trial and error throughout the years. Finely ground eggshells that kept the bugs at bay last year seemed to bore the bugs this year. Tomato blossoms that typically promise a harvest of fruity deliciousness, this year selected their favored two out of three plants to produce, with no rhyme or reason as to why no fruit on the third (I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t know what it is). And the burlap that I would have written a book on last summer, claiming its magical garden powers, seems to look me in the eye this summer and giggle, yielding little of the same benefits.
In spite of the unpredictable (and moody) personality of my gardens, there is always something redeeming about them. There will always be produce and beauty of some sort. Bringing in a harvest of any kind never ceases to thrill me. Gathering vegetables and taking them to the kitchen to wash and put up has a nostalgic feeling for me. Each vegetable has its own yummy recipe that inspires and nourishes. Seriously, is there anything more delicious and impossible to substitute than a bounty of fresh, vine-ripened, home-grown tomatoes? Sauces, salads, soups, pizza, sandwiches, tacos all taste their best with home-grown tomatoes. But I think I like them best just sliced with a little salt.
Artichokes remind me a little of butterflies. Their transformation is nearly as drastic and surprisingly stunning. Like the butterfly, the artichoke starts out looking less than show-stopping. It has a prickly exterior and is a one-dimensional shade of green. Deep down in the center is the artichoke’s heart underneath the choke and surrounding petals. This center continues to grow after the artichoke has passed its prime, giving way to another one of its purposes; providing beauty. Soon the center grows out and surpasses the sharp tips of the leaves and bursts into the truest shade of purple that saturates the ever so soft-to-the-touch blossom. Right when it looks like it’s about to die, it becomes a vibrant sight to behold. I look forward to watching this unfold each year. One of my favorite garden perks!