I have been fighting off the publisher of the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die who wants to list my garden in their upcoming edition at Number Three!!! They must have photographed my 200-square foot vegetable plot with a drone because their rough copy, written by a feature writer named Serge Bacchus, included descriptions like…
“The celery stalks stand straight and proud like dark green sentries pushing back against the wiry kale while keeping the Swiss chard calmly at bay. Plump globes of squash and slender tubes of zucchini creep and swell under foot, fattening with each new splash of warm summer rain.”
“His tomatoes, orange and firm circle the perimeter of ‘Eden’s Own Enclosure’ like the brilliant suns that obit Jupiter, varying in size but not in juicy sweetness. Too special to be deemed fruit, each piece should have a name like Fabrizio or Franchesca.”
“The rows of colourful peppers reminds one of an international art mosaic with yellow bananas from Hungary bowing to the orange Cuban Habaneros while the fiery red Piri Piris from Portugal stand defiant and unchallenged… a dozen green bells bob and nod approval in a light breeze off the water.”
No! The answer is ‘no.’ I will not have my garden gawked at!
“An Ode To Eggplants Everywhere” — ebony orbs hang precariously…
I honestly do not know how I became the world’s greatest gardener in just two summers. Last spring by planting vegetables and herbs in the drawers of a rickety old dresser I created a bit of a herbaceous masterpiece. Except for the tomatoes which suffered from swamp ass and those damn squirrels which forced me to pitch a chicken wire dome over the whole damn thing. Apparently I became so obsessively protective of my dresser drawer garden neighbours who saw me sitting beside it all night with a sling shot to ward off varmints finally intervened when I attempted to move the dresser from the backyard into the living room where it would be safe and properly air conditioned.
So this spring I burned the dresser and replaced it with a rototilled rectangle along the back fence and in all modesty, I have to say…
“The graceful pole beans knit themselves in and out of the chain links of fencing, brandishing yellow and green pods so lush, so lumpy, they’re enough to make the Jolly Green Giant weep.” Man, that guy’s annoying… and persistent. Where was I?
Oh yeah, so I planted every vegetable the nursery sold and surrounded the plot with black, plastic snow fencing as well as mouse traps at the base of the beans and a scarecrow, wired to chimes and set smack in the middle of it all to keep the birds away. I have a motion-detector water sprinkler to drown the butterflies and I imported a nest of murder hornets to take care of the honey bees so… Okay, that part I made up but really, you can become quite attached to your very own, your very…
“The Dwarf Medusa, a riot of curly colours above a forest of green, these thin, sassy peppers create a rainbow between the endive and a sea of carrot tops.”
Now I may have planted the tomatoes a tad too close together because I can’t distinguish between the Roma and the Beefsteaks plus they all ripened at once. One night I’m holding a heat lamp on the damn things and the next morning it’s an orange explosion. One day I’m pulling out a recipe for fried green tomatoes and the next day I get a nasty letter from the people at Heinz accusing me of overproducing the product in order to artificially deflate the price of ketchup.
“You can smell the onions from the street, earthy and pungent, white bulbs on green leashes that will make you cry before you cut into them!”
Also, I may not have planted the carrots deep enough because they’re kind of all stems and leaves with very little root. “All hat and no oil,” as the Texans say. The actual gnarly carrot looks suspiciously like Donald Trump’s appendage, the one described in a deposition by Stormy Daniels.
“The lettuce — leaf, bib and butterhead — grows moist and strong, cluttered in the centre and rounded around the edges as if secretly searching for a salad bowl.”
My strategic positioning could use a little work in that the two rows of peppers are keeping the single row of onions in shade and slowing their growth. I should have encouraged the vines of the squash and zucchini through the links in the fence and let them creep to their hearts content… or to Welland if necessary. As is, they look like long and unhappy snakes in a pet shop window.
“A lonely tendril of carrot top creeps slowly toward a stand of celery two rows over, secretly sending a message of love hoping one day to meet in a bowl of blue cheese.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. When you change the title of your book to “The Only Thing To See Before You Die Is Bill’s Garden” give me a call.
Well, I’ll let others speak of the poetic beauty and unparalleled elegance of my vegetable garden. As a humble man blessed with a green thumb that is permanently caked with black soil under the nail — I will admit, it’s a freakin’ sight for sore eyes.
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