Accepting My Garden

Distant garden in mist

My garden from a distance. It’s hard to tell where the brush ends and the garden begins even on the sunniest of days, but especially on this misty morning.

I’ve spent years trying to meet the standards set by my Amish neighbors’ gardens, so orderly and immaculate. I would start the year with excellent intentions, envisioning an equally orderly garden that would seem like a verdant quilt when I looked down on it from our deck.

Each year I tried, and each year I failed, especially since I couldn’t bear to uproot the hardy little volunteers that would report for duty: dill, kale, sunflowers, red orach, sweet annie, mustard (LOTS of mustard) and tomatoes that were inevitably healthier than the ones I’d been coddling under grow lights for the past several weeks. The four foot by four foot garden beds would inevitably stretch and warp to accommodate the visitors, and the neat straw-mulched paths between them would end up on top of my seedlings after Minerva, the chicken escape artist, would devise yet another way to jump out of her pen and go exploring.

The yellow-flowered mustard REALLY likes to plant itself.

The yellow-flowered mustard REALLY likes to plant itself.

“It’s not a garden; it’s a wildlife refuge,” I would explain apologetically to guests.

Now, though, I’ve finally come to accept my garden as it is: chaotic, messy, and wild. The Amish gardens weren’t nearly as lush and magical as mine was one misty morning last week, and I couldn’t resist taking these pictures.

The sad remains of my square foot plots are vaguely visible in this picture.

The sad remains of my square foot plots are vaguely visible in this picture.

But to keep things positive, instead of focusing on my disappointing pea harvest, I'm going to focus on my giant cabbages.

But to keep things positive, instead of focusing on my disappointing pea harvest, I’m going to focus on my giant cabbages.

This is my highly modified three sisters garden: corn, beans, and pumpkins all planted together. They're in a raised row rather than mounds, but they don't seem to mind.

This is my highly modified three sisters garden: corn, beans, and pumpkins all planted together. They’re in a raised row rather than mounds, but they don’t seem to mind.

I planted this valerian plant years ago, but it still soldiers on untended at the neglected end of my garden.

I planted this valerian years ago, but it still soldiers on untended at the neglected end of my garden.

Asparagus

The equally neglected asparagus is long past harvesting, but the mist gave it a magical, frost-like sheen that morning.

Among their many virtues, Minerva and Injy don't judge my poor gardening skills, especially since I've finally deemed the plants big enough to let them out of their pen.

Among their many virtues, Minerva and Injy don’t judge my poor gardening skills, especially since I’ve finally deemed the plants big enough to let them out of their pen.

Now, if someone happens to see my garden, I’ll explain proudly that it’s not a garden, it’s a wildlife refuge.

The sign pretty well summed up my feelings about my garden that morning: Magic.

The sign pretty well summed up my feelings about my garden that morning: Magic.

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3 comments

  1. I love your garden, especially the clever sign, Magic. No need for apologies. By the way, if you know how to harvest the healthy-looking Valerian, it has calming qualities – ha!

  2. sugarslanding13@gmail.com · · Reply

    Who said what a garden is suppose to look like?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. I don’t think a garden should be tamed and forced into rows so I like yours.

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