Monday, August 3, 2009

A Gardening Life Cycle

One of the delights of gardening each season is the appearance of newly germinating plants. After weeks of watching the brown crusty earth in dismay (and suddenly remembering to water the soil to keep it moist), we finally see tiny seedlings beginning to emerge. It’s so exciting. Those tiny green plants, almost microscopic in size compared to the relative giants they will become, hold the promise of our future meals. As we strain our eyes to see each individual plant, we sadly know about thinning yet are ever so hesitant to begin the process of ruthlessly pulling some of them from the ground.

The flowers to me are the plants' crowning glory. Each one either represents pollen for a fruit or a receptacle for a fruit (in the botanical sense). I thrill at the early morning sight of huge, beaming yellow zucchini blossoms. I quietly appreciate the simple white flowers of the pea plants. This year, however, what surprised me the most was the subtle lavender shade of the eggplant flower.

Is it not a miracle when the fruit finally does arrive? Small at first, these grow so quickly into sizable produce that I use to nourish myself, my family, and my friends. They always seem to appear so suddenly. Looking among huge green leaves along the fence, I spy a huge cucumber. When did that grow? I find tiny green balls along the muskmelon vine. They are tinier than marbles! I have to admit that my favorite plant this year has been the eggplant. I never had any luck with this plant before. This year, however, a shiny dark eggplant is actually growing in place of the purple flower that was there a week ago. I don't want to forget to mention the corn. The sudden appearance of silk strands, like many Rapunzels letting their hair down, suddenly adorn the sides of our cornstalks!

Produce aside, I have one other addition to my garden that has sweet appeal to me. It’s a stone, hand-painted in the form of a mouse, which is looking up from my herb garden. True, it’s an adornment and not a plant, but at least this mouse cannot eat my corn.

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