Tactile indulgences in the garden

I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation — Phyllis Theroux

When I first read Theroux’s quote, I couldn’t help but think of the moment of conception where the sperm finally gets to fertilize the egg and it’s all downhill from there. The downhill part is a joke on my part. Sort of.

Anyway, I don’t think there is a way for a woman to know the exact moment she becomes pregnant. If there is a woman out there who knew the very second she got pregnant, then I congratulate her. But I highly doubt any woman is that sensitive to the goings-on of her own body on a microscopic level. I know I’m not.

However, I’m aware of the aches, pains and kinks my body experiences. I’m also aware of when something doesn’t feel or seems out of the norm. But that doesn’t exclude me from finding a bruise I can’t remember earning. I have this habit of bumping into and/or doing things that doesn’t make me go ‘ouch’ right away. It’s usually a day or two later when I’ll spot the bruise. Depending on the location of the bruise, I usually have a good idea on how it showed up.

If I’m unaware of how I earned, as an example, the little bruises on my legs, then how the fuck am I supposed to be ‘present’ at the moment of creation, the moment where the one silly sperm introduces himself to the egg and gets to work? Nobody’s that sensitive.

So, now that I got that ramble off my chest, I don’t think one of the reasons I garden is because it’s the closest I can come to being present at creation. I certainly don’t feel it in the scientific or religious/spiritual sense of the word. But if you equate growing stuff with creating stuff then I might buy the idea of being present at creation.

I can see a comparison between gardening and a creative endeavour like writing. A simple idea is all that it takes to want to nurture it and let it grow into something amazing. But I don’t think of writing as a plant. It’s not a natural inclination to regard the two in that way.

I like gardening because I like growing stuff. I like to keep busy with things that give me some form of pleasure. I’m a tactile person and running my fingers through the soil is one of many small pleasures I enjoy. Makes all the other unpleasant parts of life easier to tackle.

Gardening, especially vegetable gardening, is practical when it comes to living off the land. I like living off the land. No one in their right mind would prefer store-bought vegetables over fresh garden-grown.

There is a satisfaction in determining if my thumb will remain green for the upcoming growing season. Most of the time, I have a green thumb. Last year was a bit of downer. Too wet and not enough dry and warm/hot days to encourage vigorous growth.

This year, there are changes in my gardening endeavours. First, I will not be growing vegetables in the ground. I don’t see the point in feeding the neighbourhood wild bunnies that cut through the backyard on a regular basis. The furry little shit bags ate everything that shot out of the garden last year. No point in waging a losing battle. To be honest, the area set aside for the vegetable garden has slowly gotten smaller over the years. It is surrounded by lilac, raspberry, saskatoon and haskap bushes that are moving into the space. Their presence has transformed the area from full-sun to partial shade. I’m going to let them and the wild bunnies have the run of the area. I’ll probably see how the bushes take over the space this summer before I decide whether or not I should plant another bush or shrub in that area for next year.

The garden will now consist of the garden box and six large planter containers. I have seeds I picked up last week. Over this past weekend — for the price of a bag of starter soil which he will be used for next year’s batch of plants — an longtime friend generously offered me a selection of plants he started from seed a couple of months ago.

And there is a dogwood in another part of the yard that isn’t looking too happy right now. I let it grow wild for years and it has always done well. This year, the leaves haven’t completely grown in. Looks kinda sparse, to be honest. I’ll probably have to do a heavy cut and see if it can bounce back. If not, I’ll remove it at the end of the summer and set up another garden box in that spot for next year since that section of yard is in full-sun and I could take serious advantage of that location.

This season is will definitely be experimental. I’m excited about the plants that are sitting on the back porch waiting to go into the containers. However, the weather sucks balls right now. Forecasts of rain and cooler temperatures for the next couple of days. Bleh.

Guess I’ll have to wait until this weekend to indulge in my tactile pleasures.

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