I want to be the eccentric old writer who lives in the rambling, ancient house covered in vines blooming with heavy purple flowers and surrounded by gardens covering every square inch of my property. I want to rock on the porch swing and look out over the lush landscape, mildly ordered and carefully unstructured. I want hydrandrea blooms the size of my head, and peonies of every color, and vividly verdant evergreen plants that offer tiny red berries against the white blanket of winter.
All through the spring, summer, and into fall, I want to fill my home with flowers, brilliant pops of color that brighten my mood and my life whenever I look at them. I want my husband to roll his eyes and chuckle when I exclaim over a perfect new rose bush, or declare that a particular bloom has the finest scent ever to touch my nose.
I hope that the neighborhood children peer through the slats of my vine-covered picket fence and make up stories about the strange old couple within. They’ll whisper of walls covered in actual books—the kind you actually have to hold in your hand and turn each and every page—and notebooks filled with the curling, uneven stokes of a type of writing called cursive. Through the swaying branches of the weeping willows standing guard in the front yard, they’ll catch fleeting glimpses of the stately old house. Every now and again I’ll look furtively out the window and swish the drapes closed dramatically, if only to give them further fodder for their gossip.
Behind our house, fountains will gurgle, whirly gigs will turn, and birdhouses adorned with copper roofs and tiny shutters will be home to happy songbirds of every color. Kirk will tinker in the quaint shed out back, biding his time in whatever way that pleases him. Our dogs will sun like lions on the grass, moving every so often to keep up with the slow spin of the earth beneath their lazy bones.
At mealtime, my table will be heavy with the bounty of my gardens. Bright red tomatoes and emerald leaves of lettuce, crisp, cool cucumbers and the sweetest sugar snap peas ever grown will fill our salad bowls, our crisper, and our bellies. Dried herbs will hang from the cupboards while fresh ones crowd my windowsills, their fragrance mingling pleasantly with the fresh flowers filling glass bowls on the kitchen table.
Yes, my future will be filled with gardens, and sunshine, and flowers, and neatly pebbled paths. And in the meantime, I will ignore the sparse, spindly branches of my much-tended tomato plants, forgiving them once again for stubbornly refusing to produce so much as a single tomato. (Yes, somehow this year managed to be even worse than last year, though I wouldn’t have thought it possible). I’ll chalk up the cost of their organic soil and fertilizer to my continued learning experience in how not to grow a garden. I’ll overlook the sagging retaining wall, barren grounds, and wholly uninspired box-hedges and think of how glorious things will be when I finally grow that green thumb.
I would say I don’t know why I try, but I do. I want a garden. I want to look out with pride at the things that I grew. Why nature keeps thwarting me so thoroughly, I can’t imagine. Alas, I can already tell you that I will try again next year (this time with more squirrel-proofing, if the rascally fellows are indeed my saboteurs, as I suspect). And the next year, and the next. I‘m going to keep trying until I succeed, by jove, and when I do, I will shout it from the rooftops that I have at last tamed nature, and have brought food to my table through the sweat of my brow.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run to the grocery store for the ingredients for today’s recipe.
:) Please tell me I am not the only one who lacks the tomato-growing gene. Have you tried and failed to grow something? If you’ve succeeded, I don’t want to hear from you. All right, you can post, but I will NOT be smiling when I respond, lol. All I have to say is thank goodness for grocery stores, because without them, I’d truly be up a creek!
Below is one of my very favorite recipes, made by my husband from the freshest of ingredients. For now, the veggies are store bought, but someday…
-2 pounds tomatoes (fresh or canned) chopped
-1 carrot, chopped
-1 stalk celery, chopped
-1 small zucchini, chopped
-1 small squash, chopped
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, crushed
5 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a few leaves of basil to taste
Place all ingredients together in a large saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the sauce in a food processor. I like mine to have a slightly grainy texture so that I have a little something to bite into, but you can puree as smooth as you like. Either serve hot over pasta or cold as a soup. Enjoy!!