A July morning jungle

The lines were drawn and the advancing vines paid no heed.

Sweet potatoes marching on pumpkin. Watermelon winding through to climb abandoned tomato cages.

A butterfly weed returned to hearty trumpets.

The okra is starting to synchronise. We may soon see more than one per plant per harvest.

And a zinnia has shouldered its way through the green beans to feel the sun on its head.

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Sun in the sun.

I’ve missed time outside. Missed may be too gentle of a word. Craved? Yearned? Viscerally required..

With the more potent creatures of energy in this house discovering, pounding upon, and vocally barraging any boundary set before them… bedtime has fallen.

And with it, any hope at a regular visit to the garden in the evenings. Even with the garden a mere fifteen feet from the back door, it may seem miles these days.

Such that a large Black Prince splits one day and mildews in its splits the next.

I have my seeds for the next solstice now at least.

The okra is coming in slowly. Curious. Not enough at once for even a side dish. Perhaps the ten or so plants will gain momentum and I’ll rue this day soon enough.

A melon has appeared in the green beans. Did I plant that? This year? Or was it last?

The zinnias are, finally, holding true to promises of summer blooms. I hope the fun pops of pink and orange will continue as the heat climbs higher. The nasturtiums are hanging on, the troopers.

The corn lost the battle with gravity after the second flattening. The storm two weeks back took out the corn, half the tomatoes, and both windshields on my car (via tree.)

I should really remove it but have to move the beautifully composted compost out of the cooked pile first and… time in the garden is left wanting.

So happy solstice, y’all. From one still sunlit corner of the world, brightened ever more my a smaller sun mimic, to yours. May the ride down the backside of this year’s coaster be joyful, healthful, and grateful.

Kumquat

Five years hence, I felt a swell of joy. Anticipation. Amplification.

Five weeks in, cessation.

Five weeks more, awareness.

Five weeks further, separation.

I gathered seeds that weekend, to memorialize.

I’ve sown them each memorial weekend since.

They, as their motive, didn’t take.

Until now.

I still, mostly, don’t say.

I still, mostly, can’t stand.

So I still, mostly, let sway.

Fare thee well.

Let them call you a weed. You are none such as that. They may not see your beauty, your strength, your ingenuity. I do, little purple flower. I see it. I see you. Bloom your heart out how and where you bloom best. Never you mind that gardener.

Shovel it.

My chuckles at the “gardening is cheaper than therapy” shirts. My body’s whisperings (and sometimes its loud insistence) that running isn’t on the list of options most days these days. My back’s reminder that I sit a lot during the day.

If the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, then perhaps I won’t admit it as a problem. A discovery, let’s call it.

I need to dig.

My mother-in-law wants to seriously expand her garden this year. My father-in-law confessed he wasn’t looking forward to the load of compost in the driveway. I confessed that if he didn’t call me over when it arrived, I’d be finding something else to shovel anyway.

Like a few weeks ago when I decided my pathways were too wide and my center bed too small.

A bit of therapy here. A bit of exercise there. A bit of soul-filling-earth-bliss in the side and I have more room, easier access, and found some sweet potatoes to add to breakfast scrambles in the process.

The right bed already has three rows of corn sown in the center. It’ll get melons on a trellis on one edge, I think. Maybe on both sides… The left bed is going to try a stagger of peppers and tomatoes… I’ve had promises of sturdy, homemade cages this year. He knows the way to my heart.

Hours ending.

The softness of the soil entrapped in a milkweed’s grasp. The moments between dog barks, airplanes, and old cars driven by young people insistently down the road. The expansion from seed tray to 4″ pots. The addition of seed trays. The tender trust in Echinacea stems.

There’s so much nutrition in the garden before anything ever touches our tongues.

“Hey honey… is there anything sown in the back left bed because…” Sprint outside.