Harvest!

When I was out watering my newly bedded day lilies, I noticed that most of the plants had a bit of green on them. If I had watered according to their directions — once a week — those things would have been fried in this heat. Out here, many things have to be watered every day in the middle of summer, though mostly I try to stick to every other day. Unfortunately, some plants die under that regimen, though fortunately others, even others of the same ilk, do well.

A couple of my cherry tomato plants seem to be dying, but a couple are doing so well that I was able to harvest a tomato off one of the plants.

I had to laugh at myself when I bought the plants — I spent more on those plants than I do on a year’s worth of tomatoes, and yet, it has been fun watching them grow. And the tomato I harvested and ate today was exceptionally delicious.

When the radishes were growing, I’d pick them while I was watering, wash them off, and eat them on the spot. I’ll probably do the same with the tomatoes. Now I just need to find other edibles that will also allow for grazing. I had considered a berry patch, but with all the birds around here, I’d probably never get a single berry unless I built a contraption to keep all flying creatures out and all berries in.

I did try to grow greengage plum trees, and one is doing well, while the other two will have to be replaced, but either way, it will be years before I get a single plum, and then there is the bird problem with those, too.

Well, it’s too late to plant anything else this summer and too early to plant anything for fall, so I have plenty of time to decide what I want to do.

Meantime, I’m looking forward to another tomato or two.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Major Miracles

I was snacking on a few radishes I’d picked from my garden when it dawned on me what a miraculous thing that was. I had tossed some tiny seeds on the ground, scuffed them about, and a little more than a month later, those seeds had become . . . food.

I was going to entitle this post “minor miracles,” but planting seeds and what grows from those seeds is not minor at all. It’s a major miracle. Without food, we wouldn’t be here on this earth. And I helped in that process of creating food. Well, technically, the seeds were the process. All I did was throw them out there and give them an occasional drink of water. They did all the rest.

Truly miraculous.

And then there is the hollyhock forest that is growing at the back of my lot. In the fall of 2019, a neighbor gave me a handful of seeds from his hollyhock bed, and told me to plant them. Which I did. I was sure I’d done something wrong, because the following spring, I saw no sign of those seeds. I ended up planting other things — mostly lilac bushes — so the area was watered all through the summer. And in the fall, a few hollyhock seedlings popped up.

And then this spring — wow! What a showing! I’m really not sure what to do about the plants because they’ve enveloped one of the lilac bushes. I considered cutting them down now rather than waiting until the season is over to protect the bush, but for some reason, the bush is growing strong in the confines of the hollyhock forest. That, too, is rather miraculous, because cooperation among plants isn’t all that common. (Though I did plant marigolds near my cherry tomato plants because those two apparently like each other.)

Today when I was out, I caught an unfamiliar glimpse of color in the midst of all that green, and look what I found:

The first hollyhock of the season.

When I was a girl, hollyhocks grew wild in the alleys, and we’d make hollyhock dolls from the flowers, using the blossom for a skirt and a bud for the head, but I’m just as glad there are no little girls around who understand the lure of hollyhock dolls. I prefer the flowers on the stalk. And I especially prefer the buds on the stalk because that means there will be more flowers.

Definitely a major miracle.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator