Summer is (hopefully) winding down. Tonight the humidity was less, and the temperature went down enough at sundown for me to go out back and sit for a while. In the heat of summer, other than morning watering and letting the dog out, and the occasional cup of coffee on the patio if it’s not too sticky, I rarely even go into the garden. If it’s not the heat of the day forcing me back in, it’s the mosquitoes in the evening keeping me away. I’m glad the weather is finally cooling down so I can enjoy the garden again. There’s a lot to do, cleaning up and yanking out the morning glories that are (albeit pretty) a nuisance plant and if they go to seed just spread even further. But I’m ready to garden again. Bring it on!
garden is a verb; it is what you do. And,
gardening is a noun that describes not what you
did, but what you got when you gardened.
– Tom Clothier, Gardening Walk and Talk
But tonight I lit the lanterns, and managed to forget about the dying/dried out tomato plants and impatiens that suffered while we were on vacation, and all the leaves and junk that need to be cleared out, and I just breathed in, listened to the crickets and the cicadas, and smiled.
We live in the city in a row house, and our back yard is very small, only about 12 feet wide and perhaps 40′ long. But one of the things that attracted us to the house when we bought it right before we married was the garden. The little old Italian couple who owned the house had the back yard full of tomatoes and basil and other plants, and a big rosebush, and the ground was so healthy and it just radiated that wonderful natural energy. It made me want to live there so I could have a garden like that.
Of course, other than a vegetable patch my mom had one year when I was in grade school, and a few occasional patches of marigolds next to the back door, I’d never touched a garden in my life. I knew nothing of weeds or diseases or anything else. I was (and still am, for the most part) a complete hack at gardening! Weeds abounded, and the rainy season brought black spot fungus I had no idea how to combat. And because I didn’t understand, I let things go and they just got into the ground and got worse. And when I was ill and not feeling up to gardening, it became a big jungle. After several years, harvesting anything was simply out of the question, nothing flourished long enough to harvest.
This year, we made a concerted effort to work on the back yard, and spent oodles of money and time updating it (after 12 years, it needed it!). New patio furniture, some perennials, extending the patio with some old pavers we tore out a year or so after we moved in. We covered the ugly wire fence between ourselves and our neighbors with some reed fencing, which gives us a level of privacy and turns the back yard into a tiny green retreat, almost making us forget we’re in the middle of a city. We’ve added in the lighting layers over the years, and we’re so happy with how they look. It is a pleasure to sit out back again. If the weather is nice tomorrow I will have to pull out the hammock and take a nice, relaxing swing and just be in the moment of my garden.