I toss aside the gloves and trowel in favor of digging deep into the hot soil with my bare hands. This is how I really know what I am dealing with, how I really know the earth and I are in relational agreement about growing things.
I ignore the hanging rake for smoothing the garden squares by hand, for a loving touch, an encouraging pat will make the plot ever-so-much-more fruitful.
I embrace square-foot-gardening and all Mel-the-Man-himself has taught me about French-intensive gardening and nice neat little squares (4 lettuce to a 12″ x 12″, or 9 bush beans or 1 pepper plant per sqaure – I know the rules!) yet I place the seeds into my “back forty” gardens in curves or circles if I feel like it and I am not afraid to tuck radishes under the shade of a zuchini or okra if I feel the need, either.
I plant in straw bales when I want more space and I name plants after my granbebes to avoid neglect of the sweet vegetables. I must show love for their namessakes!
I am partial to purple Petunias, if Petunias must be planted (and they must for they live in glorious flair all summer long) becasue, oh my, on the hottest days, they are so sweet in the air. Mmmmm… seriously pungent and delightful!
I make lots of lists about which things need done first and then totally ignore them, guided instead by a meandering trip through my garden, what calls to me first, who needs my attention today? Hello little moss roses. Are you waiting for your summer quarters to be prepared? Well, I think there could not be a better afternoon to get on that! The pole beans? They can soak a bit longer in their cup. They’ll be fine.
I show undeserved mercy to certain weeds because they tap good resources far below. But when they infringe, well, it cannot be tolerated. I smile back at the dandelions, bright and yellow and so eager, and they have yet to be able to explain to me how they were not better known as dande-lambs, so gentle are they…
I garden with my whole heart, for what is ever even worth doing in life at all if it isn’t with one’s entire and whole heart?
I garden for the love…The love of fresh food and a good reason to sweat, for the love of my family who will benefit.
I garden for the joy…The joy of seeing a bare space become fruitful, for the first grilled baby zuchini, for the fresh vine-ripened tomato that will hit my tongue with such tangy force I’ll nealry faint with happiness.
I garden for the cool of the day walks with my Creator. I hear Him ask, “Jeanie, where are you?” I always know He is not asking for Himself, for He knows right where to find me. But He wants to make sure I know where I am.
There is dirt under my nails. Sunscreen irritates my eyes. I am red-faced and sweaty and it is nearly heaven. Nearly. Empty pots gathered near trays of flora are beckoning. We will get to the next 8637 ways I garden another time…