In the Garden

When we moved from the country to the city, one thing we thought we’d regret was leaving our large back yard. My husband, Peter, was reluctant to abandon his gigantic vegetable garden, and his morning glories which had wandered out of control. We both knew we would miss all the wildlife: wild turkeys who bravely strutted around near Thanksgiving, a gentle deer who came to eat our newly-blooming tulips, sly foxes and coyotes, and one racoon we named Rocky who somehow managed to climb into our bird feeder, forcing Peter to get out his slingshot. Would we ever find such entertainment in our city back yard?

As summer comes to an end, we can definitely say that “Yes we did!” True, it was not a deer but squirrels who ate our tulips. One scrappy one got into our bird feeder by way of climbing on my new red swing, (How dare he!), and then flying through the air. We haven’t seen coyotes or foxes, but our attention has been stolen by the birds. The robins amuse us by bathing and splashing around in our bird feeder and then drinking the water. Yuck. We have a pair of cardinals who visit too. At first there was only a male, but soon he wooed a female with his loud love songs, right near our bedroom window. Well I guess that wasn’t so amusing at 6:00 am.

As for the vegetable garden, Peter agreed that we would downsize drastically – to pots. Basil, rosemary, even cherry tomatoes would grow in pots, he declared. We would put the pots right near the back door so we wouldn’t have to go too far to get the produce. This seemed like a good plan to me. But soon Peter was wandering around the back yard measuring and thinking. And then a new plan evolved: a small patch, only a few feet wide, near the back fence, that wouldn’t even be noticeable. His eyes were wide with anticipation. How could I say no?

Soon the digging began. The tiny patch turned into a large plot. Tomato plants were joined by cucumbers, zucchini, even squash. Then I noticed the extension ladder precariously leaning against a large ash tree and Peter climbing up with a saw. He had decided that his garden was not getting enough sun, and a few branches had to be cut. I rushed to get my cell phone, ready to call 911 on the spot.

After the poor ash was almost naked and Peter was safely on the ground, he declared the garden ready. He visited it every evening with the hose. The produce grew. And grew. Meanwhile the ash branches had to be bundled and hauled to the curb for the compost pick-up. In the country these branches would just be thrown into the nearby forest. Here in the city we had to stand by, ready to bribe the garbage man.

The garden flourished and the produce began to appear on the kitchen counter with Peter’s wry question: “Do you have a recipe for these?” Bu this year, unlike in the past, the amount was not overwhelming. I could easily run to the store for flour and other missing ingredients. Our family and friends, who now live much closer, were treated to zucchini bread, bruschetta, and cucumbers to take home. I had to admit that the vegetable garden was a success.

But the last word goes to the morning glories. Guess what? We didn’t leave them behind after all. A few stray seeds must have found their way into a pot, somehow. They survived the moving van and the cold winter in the shed. In the early summer they showed their brave little heads in a re-planted oleander pot, slowly winding their way upward through the branches to the top, as if to say: “We wanted to move to the city too!”


8 thoughts on “In the Garden

  1. That man sure has a green thumb and a great wife to chronicle his achievements.  And turn them into yummy treats!


  2. Hi Sue,
    I’m enjoying your blogs on Toronto, a city I would probably not recognize, not having been there in 25 years.
    I feel that i’m a tourist as I read your posts.
    I also loved your account of your trip to Alaska and down the West Coast, a voyage we hope to make one of these years.
    Thank you for the anniversary card, next year is the big one!


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