The ongoing saga of a Georgia garden's transformation (and maybe the gardener's, too)
Monday, March 25, 2013
One Interesting Thing (with a Giveaway!)
I was walking down the hall at work one day last week, and I heard someone's rapid footsteps gaining on me. "I'm not stalking you, Becky," came the voice from behind. I turned to find one of the executives talking to me. "Oh, I wouldn't think that anyway," I assured her. "I'm not that interesting."
She caught up to me, laughing. Then she rather forcefully disagreed, arguing that everyone is interesting in their own way. "I'm sure you could tell me something interesting about yourself," she insisted. As we walked down the steps, I felt the pressure of coughing up some fascinating tidbit. She kept saying, "Just one thing. There has to be something." Honestly, I could think of numerous responses, but one must be careful in selecting an answer. After all, if this was going to be the only thing she knew about me, I couldn't say something like, "I was given the 'Best Belcher' award in college," which is memorable, but perhaps a little horrifying (though true). So for a time, I was silent.
Finally, I said, "I grow corn in my vegetable garden." There. Two interesting things for the price of one. She was genuinely interested. But ultimately, it doesn't matter to me whether she was or not, and I like to think that has everything to do with the way that gardening has changed me.
I Grow Corn!
For far too long, I was ashamed of myself. I believed that by no longer being a professor, I was no longer important. I wallowed. I despaired. Like J. Alfred Prufrock, "I [had] seen the moment of my greatness flicker," and in short, I was dismayed. In trying to find another suitable job, I discovered that no one believed I had any useful skills or experience. So I despaired some more. And in the midst of my malaise (and utter boredom from sitting at home), I began to build a garden. I suddenly had vision and purpose. I felt optimistic--which is especially strange for me--each time I dropped another seed into the ground.
The things that happen in my garden are infinitely interesting, and that's what matters to me. Take, for example, the almost complete destruction of my bronze fennel. I couldn't determine what was eating it, but something definitely hungry was. I felt its loss acutely. I was frustrated. Then one morning at dawn, I tiptoed out to the garden, as I often do, just to see what had happened overnight. I found the fennel destroyer at the scene of the crime, but suddenly, I didn't care that he had been so ravenous. My fennel had transformed him.
I can come out other mornings and discover that flowers I haven't seen in almost a year have come back for another visit. They're like old friends, falling easily back into conversation with you.
Welcome back, Kew Red Lavender!
And then there are those really exciting moments when I get to introduce new members to our family. This weekend, for example, thanks to yet another giddy online shopping spree at Brent and Becky's Bulbs, I welcomed home the Bishop of Llandaff (dahlia), Emily McKenzie (crocosmia), Robert Kent (canna), one of the seven dwarfs, Sneezy (dahlia), and (dare I say it?) Lucifer himself, luckily in the more pleasing form of another stunning crocosmia. How I ended up ordering so many plants with human or character names is beyond me. I didn't realize it until I started planting them, reading each tag as I opened the packages. I did, however, also manage to add a superba 'Rothschildiana' Gloriosa lily to my online basket. And now they are all additions--hopefully very productive ones--to my home.
Would many other people think I'm interesting because I planted corms, bulbs, and tubers this weekend? And does it really matter? Somehow, by getting into the garden, I found my own intrinsic value. And that's when, I believe, you discover what you are meant to do in this life.
So, what about that giveaway, you ask? Well, I need some help. I planted a New Dawn rose in the recently-added garden. In anticipation of vigorous growth (again, my new-found optimism), I built a trellis for it this weekend. But I don't know how I feel about it in its present state.
The new garden with a late addition
Here's how you enter the giveaway. Leave a comment on this page, answering this question: what should I do with that new trellis? Should I leave it as-is? Stain it to match the fence? Stain it some other color? Let me know what you would do!
I will conduct a random drawing next Sunday (31 March), so Saturday, 30 March at midnight Orlando time will be the deadline for entries. I'll announce the winner in next week's post.
And the prize? I have a shop on Etsy where I sell my photographs and some garden gifts. My latest addition to the shop is going to be a set of stationery--8 note cards with my photographs. They are the standard size of 4" x 5.5". If you want to see any larger images of the cards, just visit my shop.
A set of 8 note cards for the winner
Anyone in the world (really, in the world) is eligible for this giveaway (except for family members, of course).