Monday, October 19, 2020

Grandma's Garden - The Disastrophe

FlapJilly created that word, a portmanteau that captures how I felt when I saw the garden on Sunday morning.
I was there in March, and then I was not. I stopped by to collect the tools and take down the hanging baskets, but today I brought gloves and pruning shears and loppers (giant clippers).  I should have brought a saw.

Hint for gardening in a small space - avoid borage.  I spent a lot more time than I wanted bent over the most stubborn, prickly, juicy branches of this weed.  Remember the definition of a weed?  It's a plant in the wrong place that you don't want to transplant anywhere else.  These hardy survivors of the wildflower seed packet my garden helpers sowed before everything ground to a halt have escaped their enclosures and are now weeds.
When Kamala asks what I'd have done had I known that a deadly pandemic was approaching, I go straight to Grandma's Garden.  I'd have been sure that the irrigation was flowing to the apple tree (it wasn't). I'd have had the scholars harvest the plants and take them home (they didn't). We'd have turned over the beds and turned off the irrigation and let the soil rest.

My involvement in all of that would have been to direct the physical labor while sitting in the shade on The Big Rock. 

Instead, I worked alone until my hip was no longer able to continue.  When I sat down I saw that things were beginning to look better.  Certainly, The space was neater, more tended, more loved.
The plants which survived are healthy and thriving.  The scallions are pungent.  The aloe vera, 
even the ones dwarfed and smothered by the raging borage, were green and gooey and perfect for soothing my rashy forearms.  (Note to self:  remember to wear long sleeves in the garden to protect tender skin from prickers and allergens and sap.)

And what, you may wonder, is that luscious pile of greenery? 

That is the what I raked, clipped, lopped, pulled, tossed, and otherwise moved from where it shouldn't be to its current location.  

That's as far as it got.  My hip and my hands and my back decided that they were done and I've learned not to argue with them when they get that way.

I'll ask the school's grounds keepers to take it away before animals begin to nest in what is, to the smaller creatures around here, a very enticing habitat.  

As for Grandma?  After a day in my garden everything hurts, but in a good way.  I was outside and I accomplished something tangible.  Physical labor that was once routine, then unimaginable, is now doable.  Every moment was a memory.  It was a really good day.
Our scarecrow's head refused to stay put, but the rest of Tom (or Jerry.... we can never remember) is nestled in his tree, ready to greet the scholars as they return to campus tomorrow.

It's as close as I can get to them right now. 


  1. Yes, it doesn't take long for weeds to take over, and seven months is a long time. Glad to hear that you started taking the garden back.

    1. Definitely a work in progress, but it's a start.

  2. I have mixed feelings on the physical return to school. Please keep us up to date on how it goes. It looks like Fresno Unified may go back in January if we can keep the numbers low, but is that even a possibility with the way people are acting. Too many parties, weddings, eating out.

    1. FlapJilly's school has been open for a month and they are doing quite well - no kids, one custodian and one other adult (I can't remember) infected. She is delighted to be with friends, and she's learning so much more than when she was at home, with her very attentive parents.

      We are 10 days into our experiment here in Tucson. I'll keep you posted. Our numbers were steady, then the college kids came back and they spiked, then they began to level off. With school starting and the Trump superspreader event on Tuesday at the airport, who knows....


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