Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Garden

We planted a garden this year, our first in a while. We did a 4 x 8 raised bed, added some nutrient rich soil to some plain vanilla soil and planted mostly seeds along with a few plants. We purchased bean, carrot, zinnia and sunflower seeds. We bought basil, cilantro, green pepper, and tomato plants. We planted the cherry tomato seeds given to Buttons by her teachers. We added sugar snap pea plants given to us by friends. Buttons was ecstatic and we were out planting, watering, waiting and singing.

Well, we took a 10 day trip and came home to find that our garden had become a jungle. It was out of control. One tomato plant yielded dozens of tomatoes, the beans were happy, the cherry tomatoes were popping and the zinnias were giving the bees plenty of pollen. Then there were the sunflowers. They grew over our daughter, and then over our fence, then us and we were pretty certain we could write a story called "Buttons and the Sunflower Stalk". They were huge. Were they 12 feet? 14 feet? They were huge. The bees flocked to their sweet nectar, the birds found refuge in their stalks and the neighbors wondered what crazy stuff we added to our soil. We delighted in watching them grow and grow and grow.
We ate our beans with lemon and butter. We gobbled tomato sandwiches, tomato pie, sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. We gave people our tomatoes. We made veggie sausage with onions and green peppers from our garden. We had fresh zinnias for our house and to share with others. We had a few snap peas and carrots to enjoy and we peppered our dishes with basil and cilantro.

We loved our garden.

Then it turned cooler and the sunflowers drooped and it was time to take them down. Summer had ended, school had started and Buttons received some difficult news. Her teacher from last year and one she would have had this year died along with her husband in a bad car accident while attending a funeral. We told Buttons on a sunny Saturday morning, took down the sunflowers and while harvesting the seeds we discussed her teacher, death, the color of the seeds and stink bugs. This garden was bountiful and gave us the chance to get into a deep and difficult discussion while keeping our hands busy. We will plant some of the seeds next year and we will give some of the seeds away. For her teacher, Ms. M, we will plant some purple hyacinth bulbs to remember her in the spring, a time for rebirth.

Garden, you gave us another reason to love the summer and a chance to get ready for the fall by tilling the garden and reminiscing about watching you grow. In the deep frosty winter we will make our plans for the first signs of spring by ordering some seeds. Thank you, garden.

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At October 4, 2009 at 8:01 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

Oh Katie, I'm so sorry to hear about Button's teacher. So very sad. You handled that important discussion beautifully. I love the idea of planting flowers as a way to remember her. Give your girl an extra hug from us.

BTW, your garden ROCKS!

At October 4, 2009 at 8:29 PM, Blogger Katie J said...

Thanks Tammy. It was not an easy task, but the initial part was easier than I thought it would be. She's still processing and the questions keep coming.

At October 6, 2009 at 3:52 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the gorgeous picture. I can't believe how big Button is getting. And I am so sorry about her teacher.

At October 7, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Blogger ProfessorMom said...

Katie, what a lovely story, and what beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing, and encouraging me. Not easy topics to handle with a wee one - sounds like you did a wonderful job.

I envy your tomatos! Way to go. For whatever reason, all of ours rotted on the vine this year. Bummer. Another reason to wish we lived closer - so I can take from your garden bounty. :)

At October 18, 2009 at 7:31 PM, Blogger Moppott said...

How did I raise such a beautiful, sensitive daughter...and get such a wonderful present from her and her husband, a beautiful granddaughter!! I am truly blessed!! Nani

At November 16, 2009 at 10:56 PM, Blogger Maia said...

Next year I want huge sunflowers like this! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!!

OX -Maia

At November 23, 2009 at 10:29 PM, Blogger Beth said...

There's only only word for this post - beautiful.


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