Plot of land | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

Plot of land 

Water, rocks, fireflies: They're the main characters in our June gardening plot.

If last week's torrents of four-plus inches of rain didn't wreak havoc on your corn, sunflowers and tomatoes, and your mulch didn't wash away, you're embracing this season like a long-lost friend. I'm still wishing for sprinkles every few days. This year, I've gone simple with hoses, coming full circle from elaborate drip irrigation grids and brass water-junction schemes. Standing in the quiet garden late one afternoon, holding one hose over one plant, I realized I was doing my favorite thing. The whole world slowed to that single spray of water. Each plant got my full attention.

Later, sitting in a rusty but oh-so-comfortable chair by the garden gate, it was as if I could actually see the twisting tomato vines growing, reaching for the sun. A month ago, everything was so neat and tidy, so full of expectation and anticipation. Now nature's chaos has kicked in. Some plants are floppy, and some seem asleep. Some are little tough guys, while some are already at the third level.

Because of last year's swarm of squash bugs, we had to move the zucchini patch to a once weedy, failed blueberry mound. A dozen robust zuke plants have announced that they are the new kids in town. Before fencing them in, I add healthy doses of chicken-coop compost and good luck soil from our garden.

When I mow the edges around the orchard, I must stop every few minutes to pry out rocks from the orange clay soil. In the deeper woods, old field patterns from decades before mark discarded corn and tobacco rows. These stones, I think, are like history's weeds: I know I'm not the first person who's bent down, pried them out of the ground and flung them aside.

Recently, I was weeding the garden a little too aggressively behind a great weekend glass of iced coffee. On my hands and knees, I did the basil and peppers, then did a flip turn to keep the momentum, focusing now on the grape tomatoes. "Damn," I thought. "Where did all these bushy weeds come from?" As I cupped my hand to yank the first bunch, I smelled a sweet, faint aroma—mint. This was my wife's row of several special mint varieties. Woe to anyone, two- or four-legged, who messed with it. I was done weeding for the day.

Our home-for-the-summer daughter wanted to go exploring several days ago. Heading for the blueberries, rounding a corner of the very familiar path, she called back at me wryly, "Whoa, Dad, what's that?" She had encountered a pair of large black snakes copulating under an apple tree.

If it's after 8 p.m., go outside. Take a friend. Find some green grass and let your eyes adjust. Oceans of fireflies will present themselves for your summer delight.

  • Water, rocks, fireflies: They're the main characters in our June gardening plot.

Latest in Front Porch

More by John Valentine

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation