Nothing says hope like a garden! We plant, not knowing if we will be here to harvest. We plant, not knowing if they will make it through the many hazards for plant life here, including untimely snow, drought, scalding heat, insects, and dogs. There are so many ways things couldn’t work out, and yet, many times it works just fine.
Last year, I was out in misty rain with shears, harvesting grapes, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos just hours before the first hard freeze of autumn. It was still going strong, but the early freeze and snow put an end to it. As I brought in a bushel of grapes and quarts of vegetables, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our small garden.
As our nest has emptied, we have more energy for our yard and garden. This year, we wanted to expand our garden. Due to the heat and frequent drought, we spend a lot for water to keep anything alive. What is worth the expense? I wanted some trees that give back by feeding the urban wildlife of squirrels, birds, and us.
We planted apricot, peach, and apple trees and blackberry and raspberry bushes. My daughter’s dog came to visit and ravished the raspberry bush down to nubs; it did not survive. The blackberries could fend for themselves with their thorns, though, and they have thrived. Now that we have a second apple tree, we hope to get sufficient cross-pollination to improve our fruit yield.
These brave little trees are just a few years old and we expected nothing from them this year, particularly because it snowed after they had blossomed. A freeze after they blossom means no fruit. We covered the salsa garden in advance of the snow, and it came through with flying colors. But the trees? We weren’t sure.
This week, I was excited to patrol the yard and find it full of babies! There was just one brave apricot that survived the snow, but there were peaches, apples, grapes, blackberries, and currants.
Our cat, Russell Sprout, was dedicated to our garden, and with his passing, I’ve tried to step up to the plate and minister to our plants as he used to do. Garnet seems to have taken up the call as well, and she was my main helper this year. It’s nice to have her there, lending her energy and quiet support.
Our little garden has braved a snowstorm and several small hailstorms this spring, and yet the trees and plants still spread their leaves and soak up the sun. They have no problem taking that which is freely given and turning it into something beautiful and nourishing to share.
Can we humans do the same to nourish our environments and home? Are we a good use of food, water, and resources? Digging in the dirt, it’s easy to wonder such things and how we can make a difference. Or maybe it’s just enough to be here, like the shade trees and the grass, spreading their calm and tranquil energy to the yard?