Grandchildren in the garden: pure joy

For the last two weeks this garden has been put to excellent use — grandchildren. Our daughter, Andrea, came “home” with her daughters. These two delightful beings were added to the permanent installation grandchildren of three. What fun! 

They ran and chased and hid and ate and relentlessly looked for fairies (who dutifully fill a fairy box each and every day that the “grands” must find, because fairies are pretty tricky).

Don’t forget the dog who was born to have a million kids in her care. What a crew. And this is July in Homer so there were many of Andrea’s friends visiting, or who have made Homer home, and this garden could be packed with 10 kids 8 years old and under. 

Just what a garden needs to do with itself. 

And not a single one, neither child nor adult, noticed that my perennial beds have been gutted. That only a cursory weeding would happen for a half hour here and there. That deadheading was not on the to-do list. That my two gorgeous trees are no longer gorgeous. 

What was noticed were the green beans, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes and salads packed with everything. O, don’t forget the pot of mint, now known as “minty leaves.”

Along with all of the perennials, I lost the mint. Now, I do not consider this much of a disaster. Even though I had very carefully dug a planting hole, lined it with landscape fabric, buried a wooden pot, lined that with fabric, planted the mint into this bullet-proof contraption so it would not travel anywhere at all, it traveled. 

It was my intention of dig it out this spring and be done with mint. My neighbor has a mint patch that I can raid when the need arises. But word got out that I was mint-less and lo, here comes a hunk of mint. Nooo! What to do? Egads! So this round goes into a pot on the deck of the greenhouse. I think it will remain contained, I’ll let you know how this goes. And I do love having a sprig for this and that.

But the grands love it more. They love it to no end. They love it so much they need to run out in the morning to munch on minty leaves. Thank goodness for friends with mint.

Now our two Washington grands have gone home, and I need to address two weeks of neglect. Back on the routine of starting at one end of the garden and making my way toward the other end. Weeding, trimming, deadheading (pinching off the spent blooms) watering.

Let’s not forget harvesting. I have so much that is ready for the freezer. I need to make this a priority for the coming weeks. 

Why I plant cabbage at all is a wonder. I don’t like it after it has been frozen, I don’t have a root cellar to store it, which would be ideal. This year I planted Gonzales, which is touted as being the size of a softball, perfect for two people. Some softball. I should have planted four, but no, we now have eight of these things out there, making me feel guilty for not harvesting them. 

And, really, that’s all there is to gardening — tending. Once you have the plants in place, the rest of the growing season is devoted to keeping them happy. 

Garden on my friends, there is a lot of summer ahead of you.

Rosemary Fitzpatrick is a longtime Homer gardener.