Noticing. Tending. Cultivating.
Gardening begins with noticing. Taking time. Tending. Cultivating. It’s what I love about gardening. We generally don’t spend much time just noticing in our day-to-day lives. I mean really noticing, down to the veins on a leaf, or the tiny shoot of a new plant from a seed you started that’s about to appear on the scene.
And then there’s the tending. So much of the gardening we do depends on the tender caring. Do the little plants have enough water, sunlight, nutrients? Are they being devoured by evil cabbage worms? And that sort of thing. This year I had gorgeous plans for a fall and winter garden. Started seeds for all kinds of vegetables that would not just withstand, but thrive, in cooler temperatures.
As you might have noticed, it’s been a while since I last posted. And, well, I’ve had a difficult few months. I didn’t start this blog to be a personal tome, so I won’t go into the details. But what was happening in the rest of my life had a distinct impact on my gardening. In the face of emotional times and the freaking challenges of life, I stopped caring for my garden. I got overwhelmed by everything else. Except for a few standouts, the crop of gorgeous seedlings I had started for the fall and winter faltered.
Shout out to the beira tronchuda (Portuguese kale, although it’s really a loose leaf cabbage), which withstood a load of neglect and is thriving at the community garden. See, and there’s one of the beauties of gardening. Unexpected resilience. Those plants that withstand, grow and unfurl, even when they shouldn’t.
My last post was on August 14, four months ago, almost to the day. I’ve moved into a new apartment, complete with a yard and a garden. On the border of San Francisco’s sunny Mission District & Noe Valley neighborhoods. (Yeah, amazing find, I know.) Beautifully, the garden was one my friend started and I was delighted to inherit it when she moved out and I moved in.
Despite difficulties, I have this. My garden. My container plants on the patio. A huge lemon tree. The leafy winter greens I planted last weekend with a good friend — cavolo nero (lacinato kale), romanesco broccoli along with Roman purple artichoke, chives, thyme and chervil. They join the mustard greens, arugula and fava beans I planted a few weeks ago. I have my plot at the lovely community garden. A chard plant there which has taken off like crazy. The lavender and black mottled seeds inside a dried pod on the scarlet runner bean plant. A new anise hyssop that sprouted up several feet from where I originally planted it. The perennial African blue basil that continues exploding with tiny blossoms and leaves that are green on top, purple on the bottom. And a little bit of cress even remains, with its curling leaves and round droplets of spicy seed pods.
I have these. To notice, tend and cultivate.
Ahem. We now return to your regularly scheduled garden blogging.
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